by Peter Freyne
I know. Y'all thought that House Speaker Gaye Symington and the Democrats were the ones behind healthcare reform, right?
The edition of AARP's monthly magazine that arrived in U.S. mailboxes yesterday gave that honor to Republican Governor Jim Douglas:
Putting health care before politics
Sometimes politicians can rise above politics. That certainly was thecase this year in Vermont, where no one expected much from the state government.With a Republican governor and a Democratic legislature, gridlock seemedinevitable. But in May, after two years of negotiations, Governor Jim Douglassigned groundbreaking legislation that makes affordable health insuranceavailable to everyone in the state. The new universal health care law, consideredthe most progressive in the country, also includes a series of cost-savingreforms. It is particularly important in the Green Mountain State, whichhas 61,000 uninsured citizens and a growing senior population. While thebill was clearly a bipartisan effort, much of the credit goes to Douglas,55, for refusing to give up. "This was such a key issue," he says. "The needwas so great in terms of containing costs and providing coverage to uninsuredVermonters that we just couldn't fail."—Joe Treen
Refusing to give up, eh?