The Six Neophytes Have Found A Solution

June 07, 2011

Caledonian Record
To the Editor:

I would like to respond to the editorial "Six Neophytes In Search of A Solution" in the May 20th edition of The Caledonian-Record. This is The Caledonian-Record's endorsement of an earlier editorial it printed by Mr. Rob Roper, where he labeled six members of the house and senate health committees who played key roles in the passing of H.202, "neophytes," as though they had little experience and less qualifications to take on the job of reforming our unsustainable health care system.

It is great that the Record printed Mr. Roper's piece, giving equal view to both sides of this highly contentious issue. Yet, though I like The Caledonian-Record, I was sad that the editorial board chose to call Mr. Roper's observations "astute." Neither Mr. Roper's piece or the Caledonian-Record's endorsement of it were particularly "astute," just ideologically correct according to the GOP script.

In fact, Mr. Roper's piece showed a certain under-appreciation for our citizen legislature that is the foundation of our democracy in Vermont. "It is ... important," he wrote in conclusions of his piece, "to recognize the limitations of people with unrelated experience, working part time within a highly politicized environment to address complex problems..." Mr. Roper's charge could easily apply to all facets of our citizen legislature, irrespective of ideology or party. Should we have a legislature composed only of professionals properly vetted in the many areas that the legislature must contend with to "address complex problems," all of which affect our "lives, liberties, and our pocketbooks?"

What was overlooked, or, perhaps, deliberately ignored, is that these "six neophytes" are all veterans of previous legislative attempts at curing our ailing health care non-system. Nor is their non-legislative experience unrelated to health care. Domestic violence, mental health, running a household, a coffee shop, nursing, or a movie theater all are interconnected with health care and what it does to the state's citizens and economy. With H.202, the "six neophytes" and their counterparts wrought a road map to a workable solution before it is too late.

Walter Carpenter