Editorials and Op-Eds

Health care affordability
April 01, 2019

VTDiggerBy Barb WilsonEditor's note: This commentary is by Barb Wilson, of Shoreham, who ran for the Addison-Rutland 1 House Representative seat in 2018, the first time anyone ran as a Democrat in many years. She garnered 42% of the vote. At the March 18 Addison County Legislative Breakfast in Middlebury, I had the opportunity to ask Gov. Phil Scott how he was going to address the health care access crisis underway in Vermont. This question arose after I listened to the governor respond to a que...

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Vermont Health Care Headed in the Wrong Direction
March 24, 2019

VTDiggerBy Sue AranoffEditor’s note: This commentary is by Susan Aranoff, senior planner and policy analyst for the Vermont Developmental Disabilities Council. The Council is a federally funded public board that supports the advocacy of people with developmental disabilities and their family members.One of the most promising features of Vermont’s health care reform effort has been the commitment by policy makers, providers and payers to look beyond traditional clinical care in order ...

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The health insurance rabbit hole
March 19, 2019

VTDiggerBy Walter CarpenterRoughly a month ago, Rep. Brian Cina, P/D-Burlington, a member of the House Health Committee, introduced H.129 into his committee. H.129 is novel bill, the first of its kind in the nation, in that it would actually do something for Vermonters that the U.S. has so far lacked the moral and political courage to do for its citizens. H.129 would make access to primary care universal for all Vermonters.I had the importance of this demonstrated to me in a routine physical las...

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Guest editorial: State Auditor answers criticism
March 14, 2019

Addison IndependentThe State Auditor’s Office serves Vermonters by ensuring that state government and entities that receive taxpayer funds are operating effectively and efficiently. As such, I would like to clear the air about some misinformation regarding my office and my intention to audit Vermont’s Accountable Care Organization (OneCare Vermont). Some have expressed concerns about the need for such an evaluation and our authority to do so. Here are the facts.OneCare Vermont is par...

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Time for legislators to focus on access to health care
March 10, 2019

Bennington BannerBy Ellen Oxfeld, Dr. Deb Richter, Ethan Parke and Marjorie PowerEvery election season legislative candidates campaign on the issue of health care access. Yet once in office, our representatives quickly learn to keep silent on this fundamental issue. Vermonters deserve better.According to a recent official report, 36 percent of Vermonters under age 65 are underinsured. Forty percent of those with private insurance are underinsured. This means their "medical expenses are more...

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Health board a puppet of insurance companies? Thatís how it looks
July 26, 2018

VTDiggerJon Margolis is VTDigger’s political columnist.What are they afraid of?The “they” in this case are the bigwigs at Vermont’s two health insurance companies and at the Green Mountain Care Board, chaired by the heretofore reasonable (as a state senator) Kevin Mullin.Together they have conspired (or so it seems) to keep Mike Fisher from testifying at a board hearing to consider the requests for rate increases by the insurance companies.Fisher is the head of the Vermon...

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Universal primary care would save money now spent at ERs
May 09, 2018

VTDiggerEditor’s note: This commentary is by David Hills, who is the managing partner of Waypoint Management Services based in Middlebury. He is a 25-year veteran of health care consulting in over 50 institutions across the United States.Aren’t we all just tired of the health care dilemma, discussion, debate and failed attempts at political remedies in Vermont, let alone across our great nation? The health care issue is huge and important, yes; but much of the national discussion aro...

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What are the hospitals afraid of?
March 01, 2018

VTDiggerEditor’s note: This commentary is by Ellen Oxfeld, a member of the boards of the advocacy group Vermont Health Care for All. She lives in Middlebury.Over the last two weeks the Senate Health and Welfare Committee has been taking testimony on a bill that would make primary care a public good for all Vermonters, with no out-of-pocket costs. It is not expensive. Unlike hospital care, primary care comprises under 6 percent of total health care spending. But investing in primary care ac...

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Universal primary care: Its time has come
February 05, 2018

Bennington BannerBy Deborah RichterWay back in 1990, I treated a patient in the inner city of Buffalo. He was an electrician in his mid-thirties who had waited until complications from his diabetes rendered him blind and in end stage kidney failure. He waited because he had no insurance. At the point I first saw him, he was unable to work and was finally eligible for Medicaid. Unfortunately, the diabetes had taken its toll on his health and he was never able to return to work. He died several ye...

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The blind spots in health care reform
January 15, 2018

VTDigger Editor’s note: This commentary is by Allan Ramsay, MD, who has been a family physician in Vermont for 38 years. He is currently medical director of the People’s Health and Wellness Clinic in Barre. Dr. Ramsay was a member of the Green Mountain Care Board from 2011-2016. As the 2018 Vermont legislative session begins, there is significant concern about health care policies proposed by the federal government. These concerns should not cause Vermont’s legislators and ...

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Vermont never gave single-payer a chance
September 26, 2017

Burlington Free Press By Mary Gerisch Two years ago, Bernie Sanders introduced a "Medicare for All" bill that would move the U.S. toward a single-payer healthcare system. He didn't get a single co-sponsor.Wednesday, the Vermont independent will introduce his latest version of the bill. Let’s clear up a few myths about Vermont’s efforts to enact universal so-called single-payer health care. Myth 1: Single-payer health care failed in Vermont. You can’t fail at som...

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Single Payer Myths
September 21, 2017

VTDiggerEditor’s note: This commentary is by Mary Gerisch, of Bennington, who is a retired civil rights attorney. She is an active leader and board member of Rights & Democracy and is also on the board of the National Center for Law and Economic Justice.Let’s clear up a few myths about Vermont’s efforts to enact universal — so-called single-payer — health care.Myth #1: Single-payer health care failed in Vermont. You can’t fail at something you didn’t...

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Opinion: Who Does Congress Represent?
July 20, 2017

Burlington Free PressWe have the jaw-dropping situation in which a congressional majority is attempting to deprive 22-23 million Americans of health-care coverage – while the rest of the advanced world guarantees this coverage to everyone of its citizens.To make things even more perverse, an overwhelming majority of U.S. citizens want this coverage – only a paltry 16 percent standing with the reps. How can people in Congress possibly defy this mandate from the people who put them in ...

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Vermont Health Care Lacks a System
June 15, 2017

VTDiggerThis commentary is by Jessica Early of Burlington, who is a registered working nurse and family nurse practitioner. She is also a health care justice organizer for Rights & Democracy, a grassroots organization working to build strong communities grounded in health care, economic and environmental justice in Vermont and New Hampshire. Mike Smith’s June 11 VTDigger piece “Does Anyone Know Where We’re Headed on Health Care?” highlights some serious issues in Verm...

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Single payer benefits
May 25, 2017

VPR CommentaryWinston Churchill once quipped that, You can always count on Americans to do the right thing - after they've tried everything else.I like that quote because it allows me to be cautiously optimistic that in the end, the current chaotic health care debate may actually result in a Medicare-for-All, single payer system.We already have a limited form of this in Medicare and Medicaid. Both work very well and provide excellent care for all who are eligible.I’ve been a Vermont pediat...

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