Health care plan a plus


In his Op-Ed column, "Legislative Session Blunts Hope for Shared Prosperity" (5/3/2012), Bruce Lisman levies two complaints against the legislature with regard to health care. First, Lisman claims that the Catamount Employer Assessment will continue to be levied on employers who do not cover their employees, even though the Catamount program has been canceled. In fact, the Employer Assessment was never intended to fund Catamount Health alone.

It pays for a number of programs, some of which started during the Douglas administration, such as the Blueprint for Health, as well as an immunization program (certainly necessary for public health)! Furthermore, Act 48, which passed last year, requires that in 2013, the legislature must examine whether the employer assessment should continue.

Lisman's second claim is that legislative leaders in Montpelier won't say how much Vermont's reformed health care system will cost until after the election. In fact, we know exactly what we are spending now (almost 5 billion dollars), and we also know that the growth in spending will continue unchecked if we don't reform the system. We also know that a single payer system (which Vermont will be allowed to implement in 2017) will save Vermonters money and enable all Vermonters to have access to health care.

How do we know this? The State of Vermont has commissioned four studies in the last ten years (Lewin, 2001; Thorpe, 2006; Hsiao, 2011, and BISHCA, 2011). Every one of those studies shows that single payer will save us more money than any other system. Such a reform will not "blunt prosperity" as Lisman claim. It will lessen the burden of health care costs on our businesses and on individuals.

Ellen Oxfeld




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