MONTPELIER -- Caroline Donnellan, a 21-year-old restaurant worker from Burlington, joined a crowd of more than 150 Wednesday to rally for a bill that hadn't received much attention -- until now.A Republican legislator, Francis "Topper" McFaun, introduced that bill, H. 304.
Donnellan said she sees the bill as a significant step toward changing the way Vermonters pay for health care, a step she said it sorely needed. "The health insurance industry is a mess," she said, explaining that she based her assessment on her physician father's accounts and her mother's experiences as a cancer patient.
McFaun said he didn't recruit the sticker-wearing supporters who poured into the Statehouse on Wednesday morning. That was the work of a new coalition called the Citizens Advocacy Network. Still, he said he knew support for his proposal was growing outside the Statehouse. "People have been calling me," he said. "The more I talked about it, the more people say, 'Hey, this sounds pretty good.'"
... Dr. Deb Richter, a family practice physician and longtime advocate for dramatic health care reform, led the rally and made the case for the legislation. "It satisfies the governor's criterion of not increasing spending and has the potential of lowering property taxes. It satisfies the Democrats' agenda of wanting to cut premiums and expand coverage compatible with Catamount. And it does what no other bill before the Legislature does now: It includes everyone, cuts costs, cuts premiums and has a mechanism for holding down costs in the future."