Hang in there on health care

April 11, 2014

Rutland Herald
By: JERRY KILCOURSE, Montpelier


As we get closer to actually implementing Act 48, Vermont's universal "single payer" in 2017, the pressure to dilute the act through compromise has proportionally increased. The extremely well-financed opponents of single-payer universal health care for whatever reason, be it self-interest, ideological, or party affiliation, have only begun to assert their political muscle on this issue. This is similar to opposition to the Affordable Care Act at the national level.

For you in the Legislature who might be susceptible to the above pressures, let me remind you why you voted for Act 48 in the first place.

Five independent studies (Lewin, Thorpe, Hsiao, BISHCA and UMass) since 2001 have shown that single-payer will control costs more effectively than the status quo.

The UMass report in 2011 states we paid around $2.5 billion in premiums, co-pays and other out-of-pocket expenses. Even the Avalere study, which was against the single-payer plan, said the costs would be $2 billion. We obviously are paying more than $2.5 billion three years later.

Employment status will have no effect on the access or quality of health care. All Vermonters will be equally covered whether or not they are self-employed, work for an employer, lose their job, or leave a job for any reason. No more degrees of coverage based on an employer's plan or your personal wealth.

To those legislators who may be wavering on their commitment to Act 48, and to the Senate leader who thinks it may not be "politically viable," it's time to step up and have the courage of your convictions and back what your constituents voted for. We don't need a watered down Plan B or anything less than what Act 48 states.