Insurance offered through Vermont’s health benefit exchange is not part of Vermont’s future single payer. Required by the 2010 federal Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), the exchange sells private plans for those needing insurance. Also, Catamount and VHAP will cease, and Medicaid will be offered there, to cover those needing insurance in 2014, three years before single payer begins. The exchange will not save money. It perpetuates America’s profitable private insurance model. Insurance is mandatory, and the cost could be a hardship for the neediest, with insufficient subsidies, until single payer begins. Private insurers as middlemen are in business to make profits for themselves and stockholders. They handle the money and billing. They do not provide health care.
Cost control is built into single payer’s design. It will happen only if we reign in the profligacy of our wasteful mix of multiple insurers, equipment and drug companies and other profiteers. Costs are helping to bankrupt our depressed economy where many remain uninsured. However, for now the exchange can cover most of the uninsured. It can also move means-tested low-income beneficiaries in and out of insurance plans and may even can delay their re-insurance as their incomes fluctuate.
Single payer will provide uninterrupted coverage 24/7 independent of employment, for all citizens who lack insurance, for lower cost. Single payer serves many countries and is verified by expert analyses. America’s Medicare and Veterans Affairs are variations of single payer, though they need improvement. The Green Mountain Care Board in designing Vermont’s single payer recognizes the need for more primary care providers and fewer specialists. It is restructuring health care organization and delivery, payment systems, etc. Single payer’s very nature should also support medical professionalism, which has been strained in today’s business model that values profits over patients. Our talented professionals value patients above profits and need the support of a system that honors their ethics as health professionals.
MARGARET NEWTON, M.D.
West BrattleboroMORE IN Letters
- Most Popular
- Most Emailed
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day 1739, 'Richard Palmer' identified in prison at York Castle as the notorious outlaw DICK TURPIN; IN 1836, Battle of the Alamo begins near San Antonio de Bexar, Texas; 1896, the Tootsie Roll invented by LEO HIRSCHFELD.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1472, Orkney, Shetland islands put up as collateral by Norway to Scotland in lieu of dowry for MARGARET OF DENMARK on her marriage with JAMES III, king of Scotland; 1962, JOHN GLENN first American to orbit Earth.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: City mayoral candidates debate campaign issues; Hartford, Conn., woman still missing; Neal Goswami reports attempts to legislate suicide; local woman loses 100 pounds through TOPS program.
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1878, JOHN TUNSTALL murdered near Lincoln, New Mexico, by the outlaw JESSE EVANS; in 1930, ELM FARM OLLIE first cow to fly in aircraft, first to be milked airborne; 1955, nuke test WASP; '79, snow in Sahara.
- TOMORROW'S HEADLINES TODAY: Rutland Herald News Editor Alan J. Keays and staff writer Gordon Dritschilo discuss stories planned for the February 18, 2015, edition of the newspaper: Winter budgets maxed, legal marijuana, Springfield bank job, USPS slowdown
- RICHARD'S POOR ALMANACK: On this day in 1249 AD, ANDRE of LONGJUMEAU is dispatched by LOUIS IX of France to meet the KHAGAN, ruler of the Mongol Empire; in 1804, during 1st Barbary War, STEPHEN DECATUR scuttles the pirate-held USS Philadelphia in Tripoli.