Passage of health care reform factor in Pollina candidacy

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(Host) Progressive, Anthony Pollina, says he’ll run for lieutenant governor next year if lawmakers don’t pass a comprehensive single-payer health care reform plan this session.

Pollina, who received roughly twenty-five percent of the vote in the 2002 race for lieutenant governor, says he’s disappointed that Senate Democrats haven’t followed the House’s lead on the issue. The House proposal phased in a system of health care for all Vermonters – a system that would be paid for using public tax revenues.

The Senate is looking at a plan that keeps the current employer-based health care model in place. It provides coverage to roughly sixty-two-thousand uninsured Vermonters by imposing a payroll tax on companies that don’t offer health insurance to their employees.

Standing on the steps of the Statehouse, Pollina said the Senate plan doesn’t go nearly far enough in providing affordable health care to all Vermonters.

(Pollina) “And how health care is dealt with, the progress or lack of progress in the days ahead in this building will help me decide whether or not to run for lieutenant governor next year.”

(Host) Pollina’s decision to run could have an impact on next year’s U.S. Senate race. State Democrats say they might only support independent Congressman Bernie Sanders in the contest if Sanders convinces the Progressives not to run candidates for the U.S. House or lieutenant governor.

Pollina says the Sanders situation won’t be a factor at all in his decision:

(Pollina) “I know there’s a lot of talk about who’s telling who what to do. I can be very honest with you and tell you that none of those things that you’re hearing are in any way affecting my decision.”

(Host) Despite Democratic concerns about having a three-way Congressional race in 2006, David Zuckerman, a Progressive representative from Burlington, says he’s seriously looking at entering the race for U.S. House.

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