Funding Vermonters for health care freedom

To the Editor:

I am writing to thank Mr. Robert Maynard for his letter "Vermont Health Care Debate" in the April 3 edition of The Caledonian-Record. Mr. Maynard's letter was responding to my letter of March 20. In my letter I had questioned the small citizens' representation versus the large sums of money that must be supporting the flow of negative advertisements against Vermont's move toward single-payer health care from a group opposed to this, Vermonters For Health Care Freedom. These advertisements seem deliberately designed to mislead and scare people.

First off, I thank Mr. Maynard for pointing out the overwhelming citizen support for single-payer in Vermont and nationally. "One group," he wrote, "HCAN (Health Care for America Now) is a national grassroots campaign of more than 1,000 organizations in 46 states representing 30 million people dedicated to winning quality, affordable health care." That 30 million Americans (and probably millions more), including thousands of Vermonters, are so dedicated to this indicates how desperately we need health care reform.

I agree with Mr. Maynard's point of "The possibility that money from outside the state is skewing our political debate should be of interest to all Vermonters." He only cites, of course, liberal groups that, without providing any proof, he believes are supporting Vermont's reform. Perhaps Mr. Maynard should also look into the mirror at the many conservative think tanks and super PACs that are opposed to single payer. They can fuel their opposition with the billions of dollars from rich corporate donors, like the Koch Brothers, who founded "Americans for Prosperity." Another one is ALEC (American Legislature Exchange Council) a coalition of corporate executives and legislators that work to shape corporate-friendly legislation; several Vermont legislators are part of this group. Another one is Dick Armey's "Freedom Works," paid for by the health insurance industry, opposed to single-payer. This group also has a Vermont chapter. The list goes on and on.

The question still remains as to exactly who is funding Vermonters for Health Care Freedom? Do they represent the people or just the corporations?

Thank you again, Mr. Maynard, and happy Mayday.

Keith Ballek

Sheffield, Vt.

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