By John McClaughry
Here’s some good news for Vermonters who cherish liberty. Last week Gov. Phil Scott made it clear that he will not support a tax on Vermonters who don’t buy individual health insurance.
Mike Faher of Vermont Digger reported on Friday that Ena Backus, health care reform director at the Agency of Human Services, told the House Health Care Committee Friday that the Scott administration remains strongly opposed to an income tax-based penalty to enforce the law.
“The penalty that we’re talking about today would impact younger and lower-income Vermonters and does not align with our objectives to address demographic challenges and to protect the most vulnerable in our state,” Backus said.
The Scott administration doesn’t believe the uninsured rate is a cause for concern because at 3.2 percent, it’s among the lowest rates in the nation, according to a recent survey. That’s only a third of the national rate.
“We’re proud of this accomplishment,” Backus told lawmakers. “We believe we can continue to improve.”
Of course the Democratic Legislature could pass a tax penalty to force their mandate on younger and lower income Vermonters to buy government-approved insurance. But the prospect of a Scott veto ought to give Democrats second thoughts about having to defend bringing this hammer down on the most vulnerable people the Democrats always claim to speak for. A better plan would be to repeal last year’s mandate bill altogether.
John McClaughry is vice president of the Ethan Allen Institute. Reprinted with permission from the Ethan Allen Institute Blog.