by Peter Freyne
Best line of the day!
Got it from the lips of the state GOP chairman after the Gaye & Shummy Show today at High Noon in the crowded Cedar Creek Room.
"Healthcare Reform" was the hot topic for the two Democratic boss-types who allegedly run things under the Golden Dome in Montpeculiar: House Speaker Gaye Symington and Senate President pro tem Peter Shumlin.
Didn't they already cave on healthcare reform to Republican Gov. Jim Douglas?
The doomed-to-failure Catamount Plan that started up this fall - a "product" to provide health insurance coverage to the uninsured - won the Republican Guv the AARP award - not the two Democratic leaders.
Look, it's no longer a secret. In America, we pay double what the rest of the civilized world does and get much worse outcomes. Great platitudes today from Gaye and Shummy.
“The Legislature is committed to taking the next step to make sure that all Vermonters have access to the healthcare they need when they need it at a price they can afford," said Symington.
"And I’d just add," said Pistol Pete, "that the Legislature understands that small businesses now need help too, that we’re not just talking about the uninsured. We’re talking about all the Vermonters who are struggling everyday to afford health insurance and do the right thing for their employees and we feel it’s time we do something for you.”
Among those in the pack listening to all this was Rob Roper [waving], the somewhat low-key chairman of the Vermont Republican Party. His reaction?
Chairman Roper had the line of the day - he suggested Shummy & Gaye were trying to squeeze "two pounds of manure in a one-pound bag."
"What they’re offering is extremely vague," said the GOP Chair. "The one thing Peter Shumlin was not vague about is that taxpayers will be left on the hook to pay for this."
Yours truly also asked Gaye & Shummy a question on another hot healthcare-related topic they had chosen to entirely ignore - Jim Douglas, State's Attorney Bobby Sand and criminal prosecution of marijuana smokers.
FREYNE: Where are you guys on marijuana in the coming session?
SHUMLIN: We’re going to need a lot of it to get through.
SHUMLIN: I’ve been pretty clear on that issue. I think that we are wasting tremendous resources in small charges and researching small charges to take them to court for marijuana related offenses. We’re going to be asking the Senate Judiciary Committee to find a better way to proceed.
SYMINGTON: I would say that I appreciate the Governor has found a way to retreat from his intrusion into the prerogative of the world of the state’s attorney and that it seemed to have resolved their differences.
SHUMLIN: You know, every once in awhile even the governor is wrong and he was wrong on that one.