Editorials and Op-Eds

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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Health care still in danger
April 26, 2017

Rutland Herald Brenda PATOINEBack in January, as the Republican controlled U.S. Congress was threatening to gut Obamacare (the Affordable Care Act), Vermonters and Americans everywhere rallied en masse in protest. In Burlington, more than 1,000 people packed into a high school auditorium, crowding the aisles and holding signs to support the Save Our Healthcare movement that was sweeping the country. It was just one of hundreds of like events across the nation, spurred by Sen. Bernie Sanders&rsqu...

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Time for Universal Primary Care For All Vermonters
March 27, 2017

Vermont Digger Regardless of what Congress plans to do with the Affordable Care Act, Vermont must develop its own solutions to protect those who may lose their health insurance or Medicaid coverage. Finding the right way to support our fellow citizens in a time of need is a Vermont tradition. Assuring that every Vermonter has access to primary care is a step in that direction. Now is the time to act. I am a family physician who has studied health policy for five years. Many of the health care ...

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Make Primary Care Free For All
March 20, 2016

 Vermont DiggerEditor’s note: This commentary is by Deborah Richter, M.D., a practicing physician who lives in Montpelier.For the past 25 years, Vermont has searched for ways to better manage health care costs. In all that time a solution – one that has worked everywhere it has been tried – has been overlooked: Make primary care free to all.Primary care is the care received from family doctors and pediatricians and, in Vermont, includes mental health care and substance abu...

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Opinion: Primary Care For All
February 02, 2016

Burlington Free Press A publicly financed universal health care system (single payer) removes health insurers as the “middleman,” reduces administrative complexity and paperwork costs, and by removing barriers to health care, gets us to the doctor earlier, when our conditions are less serious.Although Gov. Shumlin pressed the pause button on single payer in 2014, it is worth asking if we can still make progress toward the goal of health care as a public good originally enacted i...

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Primary Care for All
January 10, 2016

Rutland HeraldA publicly financed universal health care system (single-payer) removes health insurers as the middleman, reduces administrative complexity and paperwork costs and by removing barriers to health care gets us to the doctor earlier, when our conditions are less serious.Although Gov. Peter Shumlin pressed the pause button on single payer in 2014, it is worth asking if we can still make progress toward the goal of health care as a public good, originally enacted in Act 48 (passed by th...

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