Tag Archives: Jeff Wennberg

Anti-single-payer group steals page from Michael Moore

You might remember ‘Sicko,’ the 2007 documentary from Michael Moore that made the case for single-payer by contrasting the for-profit health care industry in the U.S. with government-run systems in places like Canada, Cuba and the UK.

Now, this state’s leading anti-single-payer group is stealing a page from the liberal provocateur as it tries to send precisely the opposite message. 

Vermonters for Health Care Freedom wants to raise $18,250 to fund production of “Lessons from Canada,” a documentary it says will show what a train wreck single-payer is north of the border.

In an email to would-be benefactors, Jeff Wennberg, executive director of VHCF, says the documentary “will help us activate an already existing coalition of conservatives, independents, and moderate Democrats who think Vermont’s single payer plan is reckless.”


Wennberg already has a trailer up  – you can check it out at https://transaxt.com/Donate/4EP84S/VHCFSSinglePayerDocumentary/


The teaser gives a little taste of what the full documentary would have in store.


This whole idea that it’s free, well it’s  like if you have a free bar at a wedding, some people won’t be as careful as they should, and as a result the liquor may run out,” says one guy in a suit.


Look for the health care debate to ramp up next Thursday, when the Shumlin administration unveils it’s long-awaited single-payer financing plan. They’d been scheduled to present the plan today – statute actually required them to – but are holding off until the governor drops his fiscal year 2014 budget.



Ad in hand, anti-single-payer group needs cash to get it on the TV

Opponents of single-payer health care today announced their first “television” ad, though they don’t have enough money to get the 30-second spot on actual TV.

Jeff Wennberg, executive director of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, fired off a press release to media outlets this morning touting the “new television ad.”

You can see it on the internet at http://vthealthcarefreedom.org/bureaucrats-tv-commercial. Network television though will have to wait.

“We had the funds to produce the message, but need to raise additional donations to air it,” Wennberg said. “We are hoping that once people see the ad they will be motivated to make an online donation to help deliver the message to a much wider audience.”

Production was apparently a low-budget affair. The spot, titled “Bureaucrats,” was made using donated space and unpaid volunteer “actors,” according to Wennberg.

“Even so we believe it effectively communicates the message that once the government has full control of our health care system, our access to needed services will be limited, not by medical professionals but by unaccountable bureaucrats in the name of cost containment,” he said.

The spot shows a woman, facing a potentially dire prognosis, and a doctor saying, “I think we need to run a test, if that’s okay.”

“That’s okay with me,” the female patient says.

“Sorry – I wasn’t talking to you,” the doctor says. “Is that okay with you?”

The conceit here is that the doctor is in fact talking to the “bureaucrats” that Wennberg says would, under a single-payer system, be empowered to make health care decisions on behalf of Vermonters.

“Gov. Shumlin’s single-payer health care plan gives unaccountable bureaucrats the power to limit the care Vermonters receive,” the ad says.

“The new message uses humor to illustrate a very serious concern about single payer reforms. When the state outlaws private insurance and creates a government monopoly with power over every aspect of health care financing and delivery, the government will unavoidably intrude into clinical decisions and limit access to care. We believe these decisions are best left to doctors and patients,” Wennberg said in the release.

A group called “Vermont Leads: Single Payer Now!” spent about $100,000 airing series of pro-single-payer ads earlier this month. The group is underwritten entirely by an arm of Service Employees International Union.

Wennberg said his group doesn’t have the resources to follow suit.

“Unlike single payer advocates who are running a heavy schedule of television and radio advertising with a reported $100,000 donation from a huge out-of-state labor union,” Wennberg said, “VHCF depends largely on much smaller contributions from Vermonters.”

Wennberg looking to pad coffers for anti-single-payer push

Less than a week into his new gig as head of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, Jeff Wennberg is wasting little time pleading for bucks from opponents of Peter Shumlin’s single-payer proposal.

In a fundraising letter shipped to inboxes this morning, Wennberg said the governor’s health care “scheme” “goes against our freedom, thriftiness and independence.”

While leadership has changed at VHCF, the messaging remains the same. Wennberg hits on the same themes as his predecessor Darcie Johnston, warning of limited choice, increased costs and more government bureaucracy.

Most concerning he says, is the way in which Shumlin’s has fielded “simple questions about the costs of his ‘reforms’ and who will pay for them.”

“But Governor Shumlin refuses to answer – until after the election.” (emphasis his)

Wennberg isn’t looking to play small ball. The letters asks for $50, $100, $500 or $1,000 “to protect your health care freedom.”

The money, Wennberg says, will be used in part to continue radio attack ads aired first under Johnston’s watch.

Would-be donors worried about being outed as single-payer opponents need not worry.   Since VHCF is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, Wennberg says, “there is no limit on the amount an individual or corporation can contribute and all donations are kept confidential by law.”