Letters to the Editor

Primary Care Essential
March 14, 2017

Times ArgusImagine a health care system that allows you see a doctor when you feel sick without stressful billing considerations. Two universal primary care bills, Vermont Senate bill S.53 and Vermont House bill H.248, will do just that.Primary care is the foundation of any successful health care system and also one of the most cost-effective ways for a healthy society. Many minor medical conditions are treatable before they become major ones if found in time, including mental health and addicti...

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A Way Forward in Health Care Reform
March 11, 2017

Vermont  StandardGuaranteed Primary Care for every Vermonter is up for further financial feasibility study in our Vermont Legislature.House bill #248 and Senate bill #53 ask the Joint Fiscal Office to develop options for considerations by the legislature next year. Primary care, which provides, medical, mental health and substance abuse first-line care, is the health care most of us use most of the time. It is the cheapest of all health care and in the long run, saves money. Many of today&r...

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Universal primary care offers a good answer
March 09, 2017

Stowe TodayTo the Editor:I would like to respond to “Spending money to make money can work” (opinion column by Rep. Dave Yacovone, News & Citizen, March 2).I have heard this as well, and for more circumstances than just health care. It is perfectly true in all of them, including health care.Our system is the world’s most expensive, with the least covered for this expense. Our system is this way, however, because it is not a system. It is a medley of different parts working ...

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We Need Primary Care Help
March 04, 2017

 St. Albans MessengerThe House and Senate Health Care Committees are now considering legislation proposing publicly funded primary care for all Vermonters (H.248 and S.53). The League of Women Voters strongly supports these bills.Primary care can be described as the care typically provided by pediatricians, internists, family physicians, and nurse practitioners who specialize in primary care. The bills also include outpatient mental health and substance abuse providers. The League of Women ...

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The Next Health Care Victim
January 17, 2017

The Burlington Free PressA health care crisis is coming down the road at very high speed. Getting rid of the ACA (Obamacare) is one of our new president’s top priorities. That will end subsidized health insurance under the ACA, and the ACA’s expansion of Medicaid.Millions of people, including many, many thousands of Vermonters, will rapidly become unable to afford trips to doctors and hospitals.Medicare, already too expensive for many seniors, is also looking at “reform” ...

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Universal Primary Care the Right Direction
December 02, 2016

Times Argus Burr Morse’s supposedly humorous commentary on health care reform, which is implying that reform “is going in the wrong direction,” is far from humorous to the many health care providers working hard to solve the crises of past years. Yes, Burr, it was once quite hard to find a doctor taking on new patients, but it can be getting better with health care reform that prioritizes primary care. Yes, as a fellow old Yankee, a year older than Burr’s brother, Elliot...

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Universal Primary Care, The Right Prescription
June 10, 2016

The Caledonian RecordThe editorial “Another Terrible Prescription” (Caledonian-Record, 05/21/2016) is an editorial conflicting with its own irony. It disses two proposals for publicly-funded universal systems currently in the statehouse — Dr. Dynasaur for children up to age 26 and Universal Primary Care — while simultaneously defending another universal program called Medicare. The editorial says of this program that the state of Vermont cannot get its grubby paws on the ...

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Paying for Lack of Single Payer
May 14, 2016

 Rutland HerladDawn Smith Pliner (“Health care nightmare, May 13) ought to be married to a Canadian. The health enrollment form is one page long — and it covers the entire family. An American acquaintance of mine, married to a Canadian, suffered a three-months-long, life-threatening crisis a month after they moved there and received excellent, affordable care, no further paperwork required.The inept processing Ms. Pliner is subject to is not a bug; it’s a feature. Vermonte...

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Opinion: Universal Care System Favored
May 05, 2016

 Addison IndependentThe letter “Vermont must address health insurance conundrum” (Addison Independent, April 11, 2016) was right on. This health insurance conundrum cannot be repeated enough. Our wages can never keep up with the never-ending rise of health care costs, no matter how high we raise the minimum wage. That “Of the roughly 630,000 people living in Vermont, almost 40 percent of them are on some form of public health care,” as the letter said, plainly shows ...

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Make Primary Care Free
April 08, 2016

 Times ArgusMake Primary Care FreeThe commentary “Make primary care free” (Times Argus, March 27) is on to something. Primary care is the core of our health care. The recent attempts at reform, like the Accountable Care Organizations (ACO), and the all-payer waiver, are revolving around the necessity of primary care.Hard experience taught me some years ago how absolutely essential it is to have access to a primary care physician. This is not only for routine maintenance, but to ...

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Question the System
February 15, 2016

The Times Argus The latest Times Argus/Rutland Herald editorial, “Sanders’ Challenge,” once again seems to paint Bernie Sanders as an unrealistic “populist” versus Hillary Clinton, the pragmatic realist. One example is the ACA (Obamacare) which Hillary Clinton wants to improve incrementally while Bernie wants to replace with a “single payer” Medicare-for-all health care plan.Health care in the U.S. is one of the most glaring examples of inequality, ...

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Health Care Overload
February 08, 2016

 The Valley NewsTo the Editor:Having recently helped a friend renew her supplemental health insurance, I was astounded by the amount of complexity the current system involves. First, we spent several hours learning about the overwhelming number of choices available to her from One Exchange, the health care exchange that now handles the health care coverage of DHMC retirees. Then we were on the phone for over an hour with a One Exchange representative reconfirming information (particularly m...

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Obama Care Not Enough
January 21, 2016

 Rutland HerladPaul Krugman’s “Health reform realities” (Jan. 19) claims that reality limits us to working with Obamacare; a national health care plan like the one Bernie Sanders proposes is unrealistic. But Krugman’s assessment leaves out one extremely important reality and understates a second.He left out the reality that his approach is a surrender to the power of the health insurance industry that, as he says, “played a major part in killing health reform i...

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Obamacare Not the Answer
January 21, 2016

Rutland Herlad It’s disheartening to see a respected newspaper like the Herald and a celebrated economist like Paul Krugman echo Hillary Clinton’s claim that the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”) is a great achievement and the best we can get. If so, why are thousands thronging to hear Bernie Sanders and cheering his assertion that health care is a human right which the government should provide? When Krugman’s column ran in the New York Times, hundreds of eloq...

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Galling Reasons for Giving Up
January 20, 2016

Rutland Herald How very disappointing that Paul Krugman calls the ongoing fight for guaranteed health care for all Americans a “quixotic attempt” by progressives. Until insurance companies are not lined up at the trough, siphoning off health care dollars in the name of profit, our work is not done, and we will not give up regardless of Krugman’s “three big reasons,” the first the most galling. He claims that we can’t change the system because “incumbe...

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Single Payer is the Way To Go
January 19, 2016

Bennington BannerObamacare has definitely done some good. The main benefit has been to make health insurance available to many who did not have access before. Also patients with preexisting conditions cannot be denied coverage by the insurance companies. But Obamacare falls short in many ways:• About 25 million of us will be left uninsured and many more will be underinsured• Administrative complexity and waste have not been reduced; they have increased• High deductibles and copays...

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Why Primary Care is Essential
January 16, 2016

Rutland Herald The commentary “Primary care for all” describes two bills which propose to build a system of universal primary care in Vermont. These are H.207 and S.88. As I learned the difficult way through a near fatal experience some years ago, access to primary care is vital. Without it, problems can go either undetected or are put off by costs or insane insurance complexities until they require costlier care or become life threatening. The latter instance is what happened ...

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Healthcare Reform and the Fear Factor
October 06, 2015

Bennington BannerJohn McClaughry's column "Vermont's coming all payer 'reform'" (09/30/2015) raises an awful lot of fears in its roughly 750 words. One thing it does not do is mention that since 1971 Maryland has been operating a version of the all payer system that applies to hospital care. Between 1976 and 2007, Maryland had the second lowest rate of increase in costs per hospital admission in the country.A few other points from Mr. McClaughry's column need to be addressed. He says t...

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Not much has changed
August 20, 2015

Times ArgusI wear a button that says “Health care is a human right.”Growing up in Germany, I never ever thought that it couldn’t be. Yes, we had money taken out from our pay checks but it was definitely worth it: There was never a question or a problem to go to the doctor of my choice, to have procedures done or to go for recuperation to a sanatorium.I was totally shocked when I came to the states and experienced the state of affairs in health care. How can a society function w...

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Health care for the public
August 07, 2015

Rutland HeraldIn her letter printed on Saturday, Nan Dubin made a very important point. Ms. Dubin wrote that it is time to remove profit-making incentives (specifically profit-making insurance companies) from health care. I absolutely agree. In a civil, democratic society, there are quite a few services that we agree to supply as a community for the community. These services, such as health care, should be managed as government services for the benefit of all. There is a prevailing myth that pri...

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Health Care for All
July 31, 2015

Rutland Herald Yes, we can allow anyone to open an urgent care facility which has minimal overhead compared to hospital emergency rooms. Why not? Let all the easy¬ to care ¬for patients give their money to the businessmen who would take “profits” from the hospital, and put them into their own pockets. We could even allow giant drug chains to open competing stores right next to each other with a third just around the corner (Oh my, I think we have done that in Rutland). ...

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We need improved Medicare for All
July 16, 2015

Bennington Banner I would like to comment on two recent pieces in the Banner: First, Bob Stannard, who usually gets things right, says that Obamacare will provide universal health care. In truth, it will not. When Obamacare is fully implemented, there will still be 35,000,000 Americans without health insurance. This is not universal health care. Second, there is the story about police officer Nick Colanerie who has Hodgkins lymphoma and who will lose his health insurance before he finishes ...

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Healthcare in the US
June 26, 2015

The Caledonian RecordTo the Editor:John McClaughry recently wrote a column, "Sander's Medicare-For-All Pipe Dream." John is not a fan of Senator Sanders or government-sponsored healthcare, so his opinion was quite predictable.For an honest look at how health insurance companies operate, I recommend following Wendell Potter (WendellPotter.com). He says, "As a senior public relations executive, or 'spinmeister,' for two decades with two of the largest for-profit health insurance com...

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Private insurance root of problem
June 19, 2015

Rutland Herald The commentary, “Health care problems run deep” (Rutland Herald, June 14) was an excellent recipe for how not to return Vermont to prosperity in regards to health care reform. While the solutions for which the commentary advocates — make the exchanges voluntary, get rid of the Green Mountain Care Board’s rate-setting authority for private practice, stop the Medicaid expansion, restore and rebuild the private market, to quote several at random — wou...

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Failure to act on health care
May 20, 2015

Rutland Herald:  It is extremely disappointing to those of us who see a single-payer, universal health care system as the best way to provide health care to all Vermonters to learn what the Legislature has produced to “fix” our health care system. As with the rest of the country, we are left with a system that still allows for huge profits for insurance companies (according to the Times Argus in April, Blue Cross and Blue Shield Don George made $587,206 last year, 10 times the a...

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Other countries do it
April 28, 2015

Times Argus: The recent Times Argus editorial “Health care fiasco” points out the multiple problems, both technical and political, of Vermont Health Connect, the state’s version of the federally mandated Affordable Care Act. At this point it is still a quagmire of a nonfunctioning, convoluted and overly expensive attempt to provide health care for Vermonters. The IT “experts” in this mess were contracted from the supposedly superior private sector and it is see...

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System doesn't make sense
April 20, 2015

Rutland Herald: This is the story of my experience with Vermont Health Connect. I retired in the beginning of 2014. At that time our family was covered under my husband’s policy through his employer. My husband died in March of that year, and the coverage ended.I had the option of being covered as a retiree, but that was prohibitively expensive on my limited income — a pension and Social Security. I contacted a navigator with VHC, who guided me through the process. I was only able to...

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Keep Vermonters distracted with a red rag
April 02, 2015

The Caledonian Record: How do you kill a bull with a red rag? Wendy Wilton ( "It's Time We Had The Facts On Vermont Health Connect," 3/13/2015) knows how: You wave it in the bull's face and while he rages at it, you stab him between the shoulder blades.Wilton's recent piece on questions the State Auditor should ask about Vermont Health Connect is once again the red rag in our face. Her larger purpose is revealed in this: "Three years ago, I concluded a single payer health car...

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Dealing with primary care costs
March 31, 2015

St Albans Messenger: Access to basic primary health care is something that many people don’t have (almost 1/3 of Vermonters have no insurance or are underinsured). Many policies have very large deductibles. This means that people must pay the full cost of an office visit to treat a common infection or other simple problem. Many who can’t afford these outof-pocket costs put off that visit to the doctor, and their problem is left untreated and can escalate into a much more serious...

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Universal Primary Care is Essential
March 23, 2015

VTDigger:Editor’s note: This commentary is by Walter Carpenter, a writer who lives in Montpelier and who has been active in the health care reform movement for many years after a severe medical crisis put him up against the private insurance industry.Although the governor put single-payer on hold, this does not mean Vermont cannot move toward this goal in other ways.The misnamed Affordable Care Act cannot, and will not, provide universal care. Perhaps a more appropriate nomenclature for th...

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My Wife Had a Right to Decent Health Care
March 19, 2015

Stowe TodayOn Jan. 23, 2014, my wife, Jeanette, died of cancer.She was first diagnosed with thyroid cancer back in 2008. We were fortunate to have comprehensive health insurance at the time, and Jeanette responded well to treatment. Her cancer went into remission, and everything was great.Then 15 months ago Jeanette came down with a chronic cough. She went to the doctor and was told that she may have allergies. Looking for a second opinion, she went back to the oncologist who had treated her thy...

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Primary care merits funding
March 18, 2015

Rutland HeraldThe League of Women Voters of Vermont supports companion bills, H.207 and H.88, which provide for publicly funded primary health care for all Vermonters.Primary care is the most important step in maintaining a healthy population by treating routine medical problems and identifying more serious conditions before they become difficult and expensive to treat or chronically debilitating.Publicly funded primary care is cost effective, as little as $500 per person per year, and removes b...

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Real repairs
March 05, 2015

 Times Argus: Rep. Don Turner, R-Milton, in his commentary “Toward health care repairs” (Feb. 20) offers no fix on our health care mess except to criticize what others have had the courage to try. This is easy. Unfortunately, he offers nothing in the way of fixing them except a vague promise and some snappy phrases.Turner’s piece says that his party would offer “alternatives to bring some stability, protect patient rights and choices, offer greater access and im...

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Primary care first
February 26, 2015

Rutland Herald: Two new bills, H.207 and S.88, are being submitted for consideration of the Vermont House and Senate that would cover all Vermonters for primary doctor visits starting in 2017. These bills have bipartisan support in the Senate and even tri-partisan support in the House and would go a long way in containing or even reducing our escalating health care costs.Primary care is essential for quality health care as many small medical problems can be dealt with before they become big...

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Primary care is essential
February 26, 2015

Rutland Herald:  As a primary care physician in Vermont for 40 years I want to encourage Vermont’s Legislature to give thoughtful consideration to proposed bills (H.207/S.88) that advocate universal, publicly financed primary care.This approach to health care would give Vermonters easy and affordable access to primary care — the cornerstone of a health care delivery system. Primary care providers are the backbone of the medical care delivery system, and comparatively inexpensive...

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Building a medical empire
February 18, 2015

Seven Days:As presented by "Single Provider?" [January 21], the strategy of the newly rebranded University of Vermont Medical Center is clearly to develop political clout by consolidation, overgrowth and overemphasis on technology. According to CEO Brumsted, UVMMC is "gaining scale" to better position the hospital to respond to the ever-changing health care landscape. What has happened to the primary value that the needs of patients come first? Patients' basic health care nee...

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Who are the misfits
February 15, 2015

Caledonian Record:To the Editor:I want to apologize to the Caledonian Record before I start this letter. I normally do not laugh at the opinions of others, unless the opinion was meant to be taken that way. The editorial "Deja Vu" (Caledonian Record 02/05/15) did it. Deja Vu calls several New Hampshire law makers who have introduced legislation to institute a single-payer health care system in New Hampshire as "ideological misfits." This is one ideology calling another a misf...

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Toward humane healthcare
February 06, 2015

Rutland Herald: I write in support of the many Vermont citizens, elected officials and public servants who are working hard to create a health care system that will serve all Vermonters fairly and well. Can’t we Americans learn from people in other nations that are doing better? Here is my personal experience. A few years ago, I suffered from a condition which required emergency care at a hospital in Vermont and again later while my wife and I were visiting her relatives in Scotland. For...

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Health costs still too high
February 06, 2015

Rutland Herald: Dr. Anna Carey’s recent commentary regarding our insurance/business-based health care system is very much to the point. Having an ACA exchange policy such as bronze, or even silver, mainly benefits the insurer, not the insured. If one can’t access health care due to the high cost of out-of-pocket expenses, how can it be considered health care?After years of trying to reform our very unequal system of accessibility, it is still inaccessible for many. The increment...

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The insurance system isn't healthy for all in Vermont
January 25, 2015

Valley News: A 60-year-old man, who I’ll call C.C., recently walked into my family medical practice. The nurse handed me a thin chart record. His last visit was five years before for a skin infection. Written across the top in large block letters were the words, “NO INSURANCE.”C.C. and I started talking. Over the past month, he’d experienced darkening and diminishing urine, clay-colored stools, fatigue, nausea, abdominal pain, parched mouth and windedness. His vitals were...

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Persevere on health care
January 23, 2015

Rutland Herald: It’s easy to condemn the Jan. 8 sit-in at the State House by Vermont Workers Center members and other single-payer health care supporters. Practically speaking, the demonstration was counter-productive because it left Vermonters talking about tactics (disruption) rather than substance (health care.) Other longtime, knowledgeable and passionate backers of universal, state-sponsored care felt obliged to dissociate themselves from the demonstrators, although they share t...

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McClaughry has it wrong
January 23, 2015

Valley News:To the Editor: John McClaughry’s Jan. 6 column (“Single-Payer Has Failed in Vermont — So What Next?”) was incorrect on the death of single-payer in Vermont. It is on hold; it is not deceased. While Mr. McClaughry did acknowledge this, the crying need for it is not going away. Mr. McClaughry suggests that the state government “invite some experts in who really understand how health care works.” One of his “experts” is “Regina Herzl...

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Despite the governor's assertion that 'now is not the time,' we haven't given up on single payer health care
January 23, 2015

Commons News:Single-payer health insurance is not dead, contrary to recent headlines and the media spin on it.Those of us in the Legislature who have been working for decades to bring about this change are not that easily deterred. Despite Governor Peter Shumlin’s statement — “Now is not the time” — we will continue to work toward this goal.As determined as we are to see this change come about, though, we are equally inspired to make it happen in a way that is both ...

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Good advice appreciated
January 20, 2015

Times Argus: Thank you, Dr. Michael Scollins, for your letter to The Times Argus reminding us that as Rome wasn’t built in a day, a single-payer health care plan won’t be either. Reminding us of successful single-payer plans already in operation in this country like Social Security and Medicare show that it certainly can be done and done successfully. But most of us have no idea of the amount of research and planning that is needed behind the scenes to get this done. We are so u...

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Just wondering
January 20, 2015

Times Argus:Why are the costs for single payer so high? Right now, in Vermont at least, we have Medicaid for low income folks. Who pays for that? What were the startup costs for that? How is that sustainable? It seems to me that single payer — where we all pay in what we can afford through taxes — would be a much more sustainable system for everyone in Vermont.Sandra BettisMiddlesex...

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Protest should be expected
January 20, 2015

 Rutland Herald: Regarding the Jan. 8 State House protests:We are in a nation that began with the likes of Sam Adams and the Sons of Liberty, and in a state established by the outlaw Ethan Allen and the Green Mountain Boys, and some of us are concerned that the State House might witness further scenes of confrontational protesters? In publicly exercising their rights to speak freely, assemble peacefully and petition the government, the State House protesters made the concept of the Peo...

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Justice for all
January 20, 2015

 Times Argus: Justice for allAs a registered nurse, I am held responsible to follow a set of ethical principles that guide my work: non-maleficence (do no harm), beneficence (do good), respect for the autonomy of individuals, truthfulness, and justice. I am proud to be achieving the first four principles in my work, but to achieve justice — to provide all my patients with the best care possible — is impossible within our unjust health care system.My patients have served our...

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Sitting in for health care
January 19, 2015

 Rutland Herald: On Thursday, Jan. 8, I was arrested. I was taken into custody by state police for standing up for the rights of the people of Vermont.Hundreds of us from all over the state went to the State House to speak out for our human right to health care after the governor took it upon himself to abandon Vermont’s move to universal health care. Twenty-nine of us put our bodies on the line to demand a public hearing on health care financing, holding a sit-in in the well of ...

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Governor was myopic about health care
January 15, 2015

The Caledonian Record.To the Editor:Your editorial, "Yeah, Right," (1/6) is spot on for identifying Gov. Shumlin's campaign tactic, but misfires on his policy error: The reason he has deferred his decades-long push for health care reform (he committed to it first in 1994) was that he did not look far enough afield.He missed the fact that one out of every six holders of the best for-profit health insurance policies in Vermont pays over $5,000 yearly in out-of-pocket expenses. They were ...

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A teachable moment for us all
January 15, 2015

St. Albans Messenger:Mr. [Jim]Fitzgerald: There is something much bigger going on here. It is unfortunate that you chose to belittle these folks for trying to improve our current health care system. A system that is dysfunctional, at best - inaccessible, unsustainable and that you yourself, given the right circumstances, could find yourself unable to access or pay for in the future if things continue as they are. First let me make clear, I do not speak for the Vermont Workers Center or any other...

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America already has three single payer plans
January 11, 2015

The Valley Reporter: About the only thing I learned from Steve Allen's letter "The Unaffordable Care Act, Part Two" (The Valley Reporter, 12/24/14) is that he does not like liberal/socialism. I wonder why. Whenever he drives on a road, for example, plowed and maintained by the state or town, sends his children to school, goes to a library, etc., he is enjoying what liberal/socialism has done for him: public money for the public good.This is what single-payer is all about. Vermont'...

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What's behind Shumlin cop-out?
January 11, 2015

Rutland Herald: I have questions about Governor Shumlin’s cessation of single-payer health care for Vermont.— Was there a coalition of conservative Democratic and Republican legislators who threatened to vote for the Republican gubernatorial candidate if Shumlin carried out his plan for Act 48?— Why the failure in gaining the promised federal funding? After three and a half years since the passage of Act 48, can we believe that the federal funding was not certain?— T...

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Don't be afraid of single payer
January 01, 2015

Rutland Herald: In response to Enid K. Reiman’s letter, we are encouraged to know she recognizes the health care delivery system in the U.S. “needs to be fixed.” Without quoting figures everyone has heard, we know that we have the most expensive health care of all industrialized countries and that we provide a much lower percentage of our citizens with access to any health care. All those countries provided some form of a universal access plan, commonly referred to as “si...

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Single payer is doable
January 01, 2015

Rutland Herald: Beyond the accusations, rationalizations and gloating, the derailed progress toward universal, publicly funded health care is a tragedy for Vermont and for the rest of the country which might have followed our example as it often has.Yes, the funding is very complicated. But with strong enough commitment, dedicated minds can find a way. Single payer’s goal is good, affordable health care for everyone, regardless of income or employment: like Medicare for all. Underlyin...

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Worth the fight
January 01, 2015

Times Argus: Rep. Don Turner’s op-ed, “Single Payer Already Took its Toll,” misses many key points about Vermont’s march toward single payer. This is most likely on purpose.One of these is when Turner dubbed our attempts at single payer “ideological experiment” and “egregious waste of taxpayer dollars and the administration’s human capital.” It is not ideological, but pragmatic. It also accomplished two more firsts on the notch of firsts...

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Still pushing for single payer
January 01, 2015

Rutland Herald: Gov. Peter Shumlin has consistently dragged his feet on health care. The media called his near defeat in November a referendum on his policies, particularly his signature policy universal health care. But the referendum was over his feet dragging. He has consistently failed to present financing or other details for the universal health care system not because he did not have them yet, but because he never intended to have them.Today the governor has shown his true colors. Pe...

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Debate is just beginning
December 23, 2014

Rutland Herald: The key words in your Dec. 19 editorial are “abandoned ... in the coming year.” Abandoned, yes, but not forever, like little pregnant Nell at the home for fallen women.Now that the financial information is out there, we can start dealing with it. For those who want it to be a spectator sport, here’s a list of the players. The Legislature, which as all state legislatures behaves toward taxation like a debutante who believes her boyfriend is the only man in ...

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Health care for all
December 21, 2014

The Colchester Sun: As a person who once had to pay $97,000 for one ill-timed medical expense, and now over $9,000 a month, healthcare is for me not just a human right but a matter of life and death. Can America afford to slowly put to death 315 million people just because of costs? A fully funded and comprehensive universal health plan must be available to each and every citizen not just the rich, few, and far between. The falsely raised fear factors of cost and over-taxation is far outweigh...

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Rally for health care
December 21, 2014

The Essex Reporter: My name is Jessica Moore. I live in Burlington and have lived in Vermont all my life. I became a nurse because I wanted to help people, but the real world of health care is far from what I thought it was. I see patients every day who are diagnosed with debilitating and potentially life threatening diseases. Fortunately, there are excellent curative treatments for many of these medical conditions. However, the insurance companies frequently refuse to pay for the treatment. If...

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Scare tactics on health care
December 17, 2014

 Rutland Herald: Just a few days before the Nov. 4 election, a very misleading and untruthful campaign brochure was mailed to the constituents of some Rutland County legislative districts. It was designed to make Medicare recipients fear that their health benefits would be taken over by Gov. Shumlin’s health reform efforts and they might not be able to continue to see their doctor or might be denied care and to make Medicare recipients vote for the Republican candidate. In the Ru...

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Heath care effort must proceed
December 17, 2014

Addison Independent: In the wake of the upcoming legislative session, and anticipation over the release of a financing package for a single-payer health care system in Vermont, many have asked why we need a publicly financed health care system in the first place. They wonder why we passed Act 48 in 2011, and ask if there might not be another why to get to universal health care — such as 100 percent enrollment in private insurance. In short, why do we need a publicly financed plan and ...

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Gambling with peopleís health
December 16, 2014

Rutland Herald: In the next few months — maybe much longer — Vermonters will be discussing and debating the future of health care in Vermont. Will we stick with the current model of insurance-provided health care, or move to a “single-payer” plan as suggested by the Legislature in 2011 and supported by Gov. Peter Shumlin? In my judgment, insurance is the wrong model for health care. Providing for your well-being with insurance is putting your health in the hands of...

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Health care system for all
December 16, 2014

Rutland Herald: Vermont needs to move forward with a health care system that provides all of the care we need and treats everyone equally. When I was 8 months old, I came down with grand mal seizures. Because of this, my dad needed to get a job to pay for the medications I would be on for the rest of my life. Over the years, things got worse, and my parents had to go to the Social Security office in 1983 because I was sicker then a dog at home and needed an operation to have my gall bladd...

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Now is not time to falter
December 05, 2014

Rutland HeraldThe League of Women Voters joined 15 other organizations in support of single-payer health care at a press conference at the State House recently.The League of Women Voters does not jump on bandwagons.We study an issue and come to member consensus before reaching an advocacy position. The LWVUS used that process before adopting a position in favor of a national single-payer health care system more than 20 years ago.While continuing to pursue that goal, the League recognized that th...

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Fair Health Care for Everyone
December 04, 2014

Rutland HeraldAs a young Vermonter who grew up in the Green Mountain State, I have long been proud of the ways in which our state has led the way on so many issues of human rights and dignity. As the 2015 legislative session comes ever nearer, it’s critical we move forward on our path toward Green Mountain Care that is about all care and all people, and not about filling the pockets of health insurance privateers.Two years ago, I had a major hernia operation. I had been suffering from mino...

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What he really said
December 04, 2014

Rutland HeraldWhen Professor Jonathan Gruber explained why the Affordable Care Act was worded in a confusing way, right-wing hypocrites had a field day trumpeting their outrage about lack of “transparency” and quoting his comment about “call it the stupidity of the American voter” without including his next words, “or whatever.” Here are the words Gruber actually spoke:“This bill was written in a tortured way to make sure CBO did not score the mandate as...

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Gruber flawed, but helped many
December 03, 2014

Addison IndependentValerie Mullin (“Deception used for single payer,” Nov. 27) gives your readers a wedgie.Republicans usually appeal to voters’ fears and resentments to drive a wedge between them and their good judgment on issues affecting them. Ever since Ronald Reagan kicked off his first presidential campaign in the podunk town of Philadelphia, Miss. (the site of the murder of three civil rights activists), signaling to America’s white racists that he was on their sid...

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Handy scapegoat
November 22, 2014

Rutland HeraldI find Rob Roper’s commentary on Jonathan Gruber to be nothing more than a political scapegoating process to cynically confuse Vermonters.Jonathan Gruber has certainly said some offensive and insulting things that clearly point out his cynical view of some of the processes and techniques used to draft legislation. We all dislike this, find it disturbing and are insulted. Gruber has been remarkably consistent in saying these things to several different state and national forum...

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Handy scapegoat
November 22, 2014

Rutland HeraldI find Rob Roper’s commentary on Jonathan Gruber to be nothing more than a political scapegoating process to cynically confuse Vermonters.Jonathan Gruber has certainly said some offensive and insulting things that clearly point out his cynical view of some of the processes and techniques used to draft legislation. We all dislike this, find it disturbing and are insulted. Gruber has been remarkably consistent in saying these things to several different state and national forum...

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Red herrings
November 21, 2014

Rutland HeraldBefore we lose all perspective on Jonathan Gruber’s “stupid” and arrogant words concerning the American public, we should consider the following. His faux pas really has nothing to do with the goals of universal health care of Act 48’s single payer. The same is true concerning the Vermont Health Connect website and its problems. A website is not health care. It is merely an administrative tool, though a poorly executed one. Vermont Health Connect is not sing...

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Stay Committed to Single Payer
November 18, 2014

Rutland Herald Last week I spent the day of the elections at Hartford High school, asking people to sign petitions in support of the Healthcare is a Human Right campaign. One of the points I pressed was no matter what happened in the voting booth, we must continue to hold our politicians accountable for the things we need in order to live lives with dignity. My experience tells me that no matter who’s in office, without an organized force demanding change, those in power will continue to ...

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Don't turn back
November 14, 2014

Time ArgusOn a typical foggy September morning I was commuting to work on my bicycle and every car was shrouded in a 50-foot cocoon of visibility. It occurred to me that what I was seeing was similar to how so many of us live — day to day — in our own protective cocoons. The way many of us cope is to deal with what is in our immediate field of vision and hope nothing serious happens to our health, to our family, to our jobs.It is not our fault that we may not want to peer outside of ...

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A vote is a choice, not a protest
November 14, 2014

Brattleboro Reformer"You're so sharp you'll cut yourself," the old saying goes, and a lot of people post-election think that applies to Peter Shumlin. He withheld his single-payer plan until 2015, the reasoning goes, to avoid taking a political risk, and doubting his resolve, the left stayed home, or cast a protest vote.I don't know the true reason for Governor Shumlin's actions. He says the plan isn't ready yet, and that the Vermont HealthConnect experience has taught him not to bring...

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Hold to beliefs on health care
November 13, 2014

Rutland HeraldPeter Shumlin won the popular vote. Presumably, many of us voted for him in part because we support his vigorous efforts to move Vermont to a single-payer system, removing insurance company profits from the equation of health care costs. This is simply an excellent way to pay for health care, for all Vermonters and, indeed, for all citizens of the United States. (Trace opposition to its source: The only losers in a single-payer system are insurance company stockholders, who current...

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Be Afraid of Incorrect Information
November 13, 2014

The Valley ReporterBy concerned Medicare recipients.Be afraid ...be very afraid! But be sure you don't do any research to learn the facts.Vermont seniors are being told that if Vermont's single-payer health care (Green Mountain Care) becomes law in 2017, we're all in jeopardy of losing or seeing drastically reduced Medicare and Medicare supplementary insurance benefits.'Tain't so, folks! We're being fed old news and partial truths by those who want to see the "free market" rule. But, h...

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Spreading fear
November 13, 2014

Valley ReporterBy Walter CarpenterI would like to respond to the "My View" commentary "Green Mountain Care and Medicare" (The Valley Reporter, 10/30/14) by Gene Bifano. Unfortunately, it is difficult within the brief span of a letter to call all the bluffs this piece makes in order to attempt to deliver its true intent: spreading fear.A certain hypocrisy should not be lost here. This commentary is defending one publicly funded, single-payer system to hopefully knock down anot...

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Laughed off the stage
November 13, 2014

The Valley ReporterBy Chuck GregoryGene Bifano's piece (Green Mountain Care and Medicare, 11/6/14) is being laughed off the stage by us seniors. Anybody who believes AARP is better than socialism does not know AARP. Rather than fight to protect us against the destruction of Medicare, it supported the Republicans' attempt in 2003 to deny the government the power to negotiate the prices of medications in its Medicare Part D legislation. As a $1 billion-a-year business, with $600 million coming fro...

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Single-Payer Can Be Done
November 12, 2014

Valley News“Single-Payer Supporters Push Ahead” (front page, Nov. 6) has it just right. We do not see Gov. Shumlin’s near-defeat as a referendum on health care reform at all. Vermonters are hungry for a universal, simplified and less costly system and so are many of our leaders in the state Senate and House of Representatives. I am one of the supporters of getting insurance companies with high-profit margins out of complicated and deductible-ridden health policies, and I trust ...

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In defense of Ďsingle payerí
November 11, 2014

Times ArgusI am very upset that people think that the narrow vote for Shumlin is a vote against single payer. It might be a vote against the present health care system (or lack thereof) but I do not see it as a vote against single payer. Single payer and the present system have nothing to do with each other. The present system was forced on us by the feds. Single payer, as I’ve said many times, is the only way to go and the only problem with it is that it is not in effect right now.Sandra ...

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Oops
November 11, 2014

Time ArgusIn his recent op-ed decrying rising health care costs, Don George says Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont is a nonprofit whose guiding principle is “putting Vermonters first.” Oops. He forgot to mention that his predecessor took a $7.9 million bonus when he left. To put that in perspective, for my current $1,240 premium for a family of four, I would have to pay 6,370 months, or 530 years, of premiums just to pay for that bonus. So much for Mr. George’s claims of concer...

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Scare tactics on health care
November 11, 2014

Rutland HeraldJust a few days before the Nov. 4 election, a very misleading and untruthful campaign brochure was mailed to the constituents of some Rutland County legislative districts. It was designed to make Medicare recipients fear that their health benefits would be taken over by Governor Shumlin’s health reform efforts and they might not be able to continue to see their doctor or might be denied care and to make Medicare recipients vote for the Republican candidate. In the Rutland 5-4...

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Single-Payer No Medicare Threat
November 06, 2014

Addison IndependentRecent letters and news stories have expressed the fear that a Vermont based single-payer system would be a threat to Medicare. This is simply untrue and here is why. The law that set Vermont on the path to single payer specifies on its very first page that Green Mountain Care will cover all Vermonters “regardless of income, assets, health status, or availability of other health coverage.” Also, federal law does not allow for any state to take away Medicare or chan...

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Democrats losing heart
October 31, 2014

Valley NewsThere seems to be a growing trend of Democratic politicians in Vermont preparing the ground rhetorically for a retreat from the state’s commitment to true universal health care. I first noticed this at the People’s Forum on Human Rights and the Economy held in Hartford on Oct. 16, where several Windsor County politicians expressed their love for universal health care in theory, while sounding uncomfortably vague, even fiscally conservative, on questions like how it would b...

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Legislature must continue toward single-payer goal
October 31, 2014

Addison IndependentMy name is Suzanne Boyle. I am retired now and have Medicare plus a Supplemental Health Insurance Plan — USAA, a nonprofit healthcare plan. However, it wasn’t always this simple.I lived 30 years in Connecticut, raising three children as a single parent, working at Cigna Insurance, attending night college courses for nine years to receive a double degree in education and American studies. With my degree I returned to teaching. Fifteen years later I found myself faci...

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Single payer is the answer
October 23, 2014

Rutland Herald Re: Keith Stern’s “Failings of Obamacare” (Rutland Herald, Oct. 18): Vermont Health Connect’s “bronze plan” has the cheapest monthly premium and a $6,000 deductible. To understand its true cost, you have to add $500 a month to the premium. The bronze plan is most likely to be chosen by the young, who are at the start of their climb (if they are lucky) up the income ladder and by those who are stuck in their climb. The young are also the heal...

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Not a threat to Medicare
October 21, 2014

Rutland HeraldRecent letters have expressed the fear that a Vermont-based single-payer system would be a threat to Medicare. This is simply untrue and here is why. The law which set Vermont on the path to single payer specifies on its very first page that Green Mountain Care will cover all Vermonters “regardless of income, assets, health status, or availability of other health coverage.” Also, federal law does not allow for any state to take away Medicare or change Medicare benefits ...

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Greed is root of health issue
October 14, 2014

Rutland HeraldThe perspective of the officials of Southwest Vermont Health Care may appear to be neutral in its point of view, but it is anything but. The writers state the three principles of health reform, which must be adhered to: universal coverage, based on a person’s ability to pay and having the right to choose your doctor. The writers tell voters that any reform of health care in Vermont must include the details of how much each Vermonter will pay. They state all this, implying tha...

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More clear than ever
October 10, 2014

Times ArgusThe recent article in The Times Argus concerning security shortcomings of the Vermont Health Connect exchange website should, if nothing else, point out the need for the future Green Mountain Care’s single payer/universal heath care plan. Instead of having to submit a complex application with personal financial information, single payer health care would only require proof of residency. Your health care will exist because you exist.This is similar to Medicare, where a short visi...

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Editorial sorely misguided
October 09, 2014

St. Albans MessengerThe editorial, “Vermont’s not so funny rendition of Looney Tunes,” (9/26) ought to have been titled, “We’re not the capable Americans of 1965.” That was the year Lyndon Johnson signed Medicare into law and gave the government and America’s hospitals one year to create a single-payer system to cover 19 million elderly people.Washington Post writer Sara Kliff, (“When Medicare launched, nobody had any clue whether it would work,&rd...

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Single-Payer for All
October 08, 2014

Valley NewsTo the Editor: I would like to thank the Valley News for the article “Shumlin Talks Health, Education Reform (Oct. 4)”. It was refreshing to read the governor’s commitment to “a more fair way of paying for health care where everybody has health care as a right, not a privilege.” I fully concur with him. Why does quality health care have to be a privilege of those with the economic resources or the luck to hit it right? While the exchanges do some right th...

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Make Sure Shumlin Doesn't Back Down
October 08, 2014

Rutland HeraldIn 2011, Vermont passed Act 48, setting us on the course to have the first universal, publicly financed health care system in the United States. This came about because hundreds of Vermont residents took action: contacting legislators, packing public hearings, testifying about the debilitating effects of the current health care system on their lives. By bringing their voices forward, these people changed the political landscape. Montpelier insiders who once said universal health ca...

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John McClaughry -- an interesting read
October 07, 2014

Caledonian RecodMcClaughry is always interesting to read. He researches his topics well, and always presents an interesting view of history. His latest thesis on "Health Care Mutual Aid", (September 30, 2014), was one of many ways he tries to discredit the "health care for all" movement and, in particular, the Accountable Care Act, or "Obamacare". He disagrees with me on the concept that health care is right for all Americans. He finds this to be an anathema and is ...

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Itís not so looney
October 07, 2014

St. Alban's MessengerEmerson Lynn’s editorial “Vermont’s not so funny rendition of Looney Tunes, (St Albans Messenger 09/26/14), missed several key points about why Vermont’s progress toward single-payer is not so looney after all.Mr. Lynn said Vermonters must reach into their pockets “over $2 billion each year to pay for this untried system.” As Mr. Lynn knows, Green Mountain Care (single-payer) is not an untried system. It is working all over the democratic ...

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Vermont Health Connect is Better for Vermont than the Federal Exchange
October 03, 2014

Caledonian RecordVermont Health Connect (VHC) made headlines when the state announced that it was taking down the web portal until further notice. While the policy reasons for taking this action were sound, this certainly was unwelcome news.Opponents of health care reform have used this decision to renew their call for Vermont to drop VHC altogether and join the federal health insurance exchange. This is a misguided reaction and one that would greatly impact consumer protections and low and midd...

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Health Editorial Missed the Point
September 25, 2014

The Herald of RandolophAs is typical of most of the comment about Vermont Health Connect and single payer, your editorial omits one fact: that citizens lack health insurance. Your editorial states that the reason the governor is pushing single payer is to control costs that crush small business. If that statement is even true then he’s pursing single payer for the wrong reason. The reason must always be because people lack coverage. To do anything else is immoral.Yes, it is a problem that ...

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The Crying Need for Single Payer
September 25, 2014

Randolph HeraldThe letter “Single Payer Hurts Quality” (09/18/14) has some explaining to do.If “Economics 101 teaches that price controls always lead to scarcity and loss of quality,” as the writer suggests, then why do nations with global budgets and single-payer systems consistently turn in better quality care than we do? What does Economics 101 teach about this?The letter said that “controlling prices does not control costs.” If this is so, then why are our...

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Sanders not to blame
September 24, 2014

Rutland HeraldA recent letter (“Single payer avoids problems,” Sept. 17) comes to the correct conclusion that single payer is the only way to guarantee health care for all in a cost-effective system. However, the letter seems to hold Sen. Bernie Sanders responsible for the passage of the Affordable Care Act instead of a national single-payer plan. The fault for that can hardly be put in the lap of Senator Sanders. Indeed, he has long introduced single-payer Medicare for All bills and...

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Recessive gene proved dominant
September 21, 2014

VTDiggerEditor’s note: This commentary is by Chuck Gregory, who is a member of the Springfield Town Democratic Committee, a volunteer with the Vermont Workers’ Center, and Valley Court Diversion. Hindsight is always 20-20, but Republican Randy Brock’s recent VTDigger pieces — “Out of the Frying Pan,” (Aug. 6), an attempt to tarnish the reputation of OptumInsight as a zombie version of its corporate criminal predecessor, Ingenix, and “You can’t get ...

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Vermont Health Connect not single-payer
September 19, 2014

Burlington Free PressThe League of Women Voters of Vermont strongly supports universal, state-supported health care for Vermont.There seems to be a misconception that because Vermont Health Connect is having technical difficulties, administering a single-payer system will somehow be worse. There's every reason in the world to believe the opposite is true.Under single payer, there will be:• No need to determine the best balance of deductibles vs. premiums vs. copays.• No need to submit ...

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How to get to free market
September 10, 2014

Rutland HeraldRe: Randy Brock’s Sunday funny:A man and his family stopped their car in front of the general store and, spying an old Vermonter, called out, “We’re moving into town. Can you give us directions to where we can buy health insurance?”The old man thought for a moment and said, “You just keep on through town ’til you come to the Free Market.“It’s only got three stalls nowadays, because the gummint says insurers can’t pass profits on...

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Single payer's many benefits
September 06, 2014

Rutland HeraldMr. Steve Trahan’s letter “How does state generate $4,800 per person for health care?” (Rutland Herald, Sept. 2) shows a complete lack of understanding of single payer, or of Vermont’s health care situation in general.Mr. Trahan’s first gaffe concerns the costs of single payer. He says, for example, that the “vast cost” of single payer will reach “upwards of three billion dollars,” or about $4,800 per Vermonter. Even if Mr. Trah...

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Single payer is not VT Health Connect
September 03, 2014

Manchester JournalOne of most disingenuous ways some would try to derail Act 48's Green Mountain Care's single payer universal health care plan is to link it to the Vermont Health Connect insurance plans. In spite of a couple of needed reforms, there is no way, shape, or form, that these heath plans are comparable or similar. Far from it. Green Mountain Care, due in 2017 resembles Medicare which is for the most part a "single payer" plan.Vermont Heath Connect is a convoluted, federally...

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Single payer will save money
August 28, 2014

The Herald of RandolphIn his August 21 column in The Herald, Middlebury’s outgoing state representative, Paul Ralston, raises some questions about the state’s roadmap to single payer. However, his conclusions are based on assumptions that need more probing. Here are a few issues that need to be looked at more carefully:1. The column asserts that the state has performed poorly in its “first attempt at health care reform” and that therefore people must now be cautious.Howev...

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Life or money
August 27, 2014

Times ArgusI was at a drugstore the other day when a little old lady in front of me went to fill a script and was not given the script. From what I could hear there was a problem with the insurance that needed to be resolved first. What I cannot understand is why working out a billing problem trumps getting needed medication to people who are sick. When most people do not get needed medications, it has much more costly effects elsewhere in society. Health care is about making people better. Inst...

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Are you kidding? Single-payer plan is the biggest bargain ever
August 22, 2014

St. Albans MessengerRepublicans often hurl fear, uncertainty and doubt (“fud-flinging”) like monkey poo in hopes that it will stick. Franklin County Republican Party chairman Steve Trahan (“Calling out local Democrats … what’s the governor’s plan?” 8/16) does just the opposite: Thanks to his predictions, I can hardly wait to pay more in taxes!I earned $34,079 gross and paid federal taxes on R an adjusted gross income (AGI) of $26,129, the basis on which...

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How do we pay for single payer? Weíre still working on it
August 22, 2014

St. Albans MessengerTwo years ago I had the pleasure to sit across the table from Steve Trahan and debate policy when we were both candidates for the Vermont House. I have enormous respect for Mr. Trahan, although we disagree onTwo years ago I had the pleasure to sit across the table from Steve Trahan and debate policy when we were both candidates for the Vermont House. I have enormous respect for Mr. Trahan, although we disagree on many issues.many issues. That’s why I’m willing to ...

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Single-payer is simple
August 22, 2014

Times ArgusThe League of Women Voters of Vermont strongly supports universal, state-supported health care for Vermont.There seems to be a misconception that, because Vermont Health Connect is having technical difficulties, administering a single-payer system will somehow be worse. There’s every reason in the world to believe the opposite is true. Under single-payer, there will be:1. No need to determine the best balance of deductibles versus premiums versus copays.2. No need to submit pers...

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Critics are ignoring broken health system
August 21, 2014

Stowe Reporter The commentary by state Reps. Patti Komline and Heidi Scheuermann, “Health care must work for all Vermonters” (Stowe Reporter, Aug. 14), predictably has taken the Shumlin administration to task concerning the health exchange rollout and its IT problems. Also predictably, they think the solution for universal/affordable health care is more health insurance companies and less regulation, despite decades of evidence to the contrary. Just to recap such negative ev...

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Not about balance
August 15, 2014

Times ArgusAlan Parent in his letter “Real leadership needed” (The Times Argus, Aug. 6), does not define what he means by “real leadership.” Instead, he hides behind suggesting that what Vermont needs is “balance in Montpelier.” Mr. Parent says this will bring “real, and honest, leadership,” conveniently ignoring how this “balance” he advocates often brings gridlock rather than “real and honest” leadership. Our present gover...

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Supporting the path toward single-payer
August 14, 2014

The Essex ReporterResponding to Dr. Todd Gregory’s thoughtful questions about single-payer health care (“Understanding health care reform” Aug. 7):
Many details, especially regarding financing, do remain to be resolved in the coming legislative session. But the essential question is what Vermonters think our health care system should be and do.Single-payer will assure good, affordable care for everyone, regardless of age, income or employment, like what citizens of many o...

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Reply to Lawrence Harrington
August 02, 2014

Bennington BannerLawrence Harrington’s July 25 baseball bat story is pleasant and folksy. (Probably he prefers old-fashioned wooden bats to these newfangled aluminum ones; so do I.) But as an analogy to single-payer health care, his tale strikes out. Mr. Harrington’s more expensive baseball-bat finish was a better product than the cheaper ones that replaced it; but that is not the case with our present "system" of health care, whether "Obamacare" or its immediate ...

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Overcoming Obstacles
August 01, 2014

Rutland HeraldRob Roper’s recent commentary “Put small business first” in The Times Argus may have inadvertently given a boost to Act 48’s universal/single payer health care plan. I say inadvertently because the folks at the Ethan Allen Institute are ideologically opposed to any such publicly funded system.For example, one of greatest obstacles facing small businesses in general and start-ups in particular when trying to compete with large corporations in recruiting and k...

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Health care not a competition
July 31, 2014

Rutland HeraldFrank Mazur (“Rules limit patient options,” July 25) uses the standard wing-nut welfare resources (in this case, the Koch Brothers-funded Mercatus Center) to offer the standard “savage capitalism” defense of the present system of health care provision: Don’t interfere with “competition” by insisting that health care providers meet the standards set by a certificate of need.“Competition” is about dollars, not quality of service. ...

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Single-payer critic's math is off
July 31, 2014

Burlington Free PressThe letter "Red Flag Raised over Health Costs" (Letter to the editor, June 17) by Mr. William French left some red flags in its wake concerning the author's understanding of single-payer.For example, Mr. French states that "according to the 2013 United States Census Bureau estimate, there are 626,630 people living in our fine state — which means about 40,731 of our residents did not have health insurance coverage in 2012." True enough. In single-pay...

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Single payer good for all
July 28, 2014

Rutland HeraldResponding to Dr. Todd Gregory’s thoughtful questions about single-payer health care:Many details, especially regarding financing, do remain to be resolved in the coming legislative session.But the essential question is what Vermonters think our health care system should be and do.Single-payer will assure good, affordable care for everyone, regardless of age, income or employment, such as citizens of many other countries enjoy. All else derives from that principle. Overall, V...

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Why single payer
July 18, 2014

Times ArgusAlthough not his intention, George Malek’s commentary (“Reallocating health care costs,” July 14) was an excellent case on why we need publicly funded universal care.Mr. Malek, the executive director of the Central Vermont Chamber of Commerce, stated, “Some employers offer platinum health care plans, others no plan at all.” This has been a persistent problem with market-based health insurance. The so-called free market does not treat businesses equally, e...

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Ideology trumps reality
July 05, 2014

Rutland HeraldRegarding John McClaughry’s recent negative commentary in the Rutland Herald on Vermont’s Act 48, readers should keep the following in mind:As the ideological guru and founder of the Ethan Allen Institute (EAI) Mr. McClaughry, along other members of EAI, will almost always favor any so-called “free market” business enterprise over a government-run program, including health care, regardless of the results. The results are that after decades, private sector he...

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Pay up or die is our system
July 03, 2014

Rutland HeraldTwenty thousand dollars. This was the hospital’s “going rate” for the operation I needed to stay alive. I knew the operation. I had already logged three of them for the liver disease (from natural causes) which had nearly killed me that year. I had health insurance through an employer. I lost this during a company “restructuring.” Now, without insurance, ineligible for Vermont’s public programs (this was in 2007, just before Catamount), the disea...

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McClaughry Offers No Solutions
July 03, 2014

The Herald of RandolphJohn McClaughry’s “VA Hospital Scandal Is a Warning Sign for Single-Payer” (6/26) draws a very sketchy conclusion. It’s one thing to criticize VA healthcare behavior that is, indeed, indefensible; it’s another thing altogether to try to tie that behavior to a “single payer” theme, then to Canadian healthcare in general, and finally, in the longest stretch of all, to Vermont’s planned Green Mountain Care.What exactly is Mr. McC...

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Let's get real
June 27, 2014

Times ArgusThis is about the article regarding the state providing data on health care costs in Thursday’s Times Argus.While it is applaudable to have that data, it will prove unusable until we get to a single-payer system. At the moment people are controlled by their insurance company to stay within the network. So even if costs/charges are lower at another facility — if it is outside my network — I cannot go to use their services unless I pay more. Let’s get realistic a...

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Dancing, dodging and praying for health care is not the answer
June 27, 2014

The Caledonian RecordTo the Editor:John McLaughry's "Three Single Payer Health Care Systems" (6/24) laments the state of VA healthcare, laments the state of Canadian healthcare and laments what he considers the inevitable failure of Vermont's planned universal care system, Green Mountain Care. John McLaughry laments a lot. But John McLaughry doesn't ever address what the alternatives are to these programs he so obviously despises.Having decided to send hundreds of thousands of our mili...

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Vermont BCBS vs. National VA system
June 24, 2014

Caledonian RecordTo the Editor:Your editorial, "When Government Runs Health Care" (June 18) should give readers cause to reflect on one of the virtues of changing to a universal health care system for Vermonters by comparing Blue Cross Blue Shield to the Veterans Administration.Vermont BCBS is by Vermont law, a not-for-profit insurer; that is, it takes money from people and gives it to health care providers without rewarding shareholders. However, for this service its corporate officer...

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Settle for nothing less than single-payer
June 22, 2014

Burlington Free PressAs we get closer to actually implementing Act 48, Vermont's universal "single-payer" health care system 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, ideology or party affiliation — have only begun to assert their political muscle on this issue. This is similar to opposition to the Affordable Ca...

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Problem is at the top
June 09, 2014

The Times ArgusBy: Jerry Kilcourse, MontpelierThe recent article in The Times Argus by Peter Hirschfeld “Increases fuel single-payer debate” should call attention to our overly complicated and administratively heavy health care system. Until it is simplified with a universal/single-payer plan for all, health care costs will never be reduced or even contained. It is a systemic problem that incremental reforms such as the Affordable Care Act (Vermont Health Connect) will never fix...

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We need improved Medicare for all
June 03, 2014

Bennington BannerBy: G. RICHARD DUNDAS, BenningtonWe read in the Banner that as many as 40 Veterans may have died in Phoenix because they could not get needed care at the VA hospital. This is truly outrageous (surely an overused adjective but probably better than disgraceful). We must do better for our Veterans.Here is another statistic that you may or may not want to know depending on your political mindset. It is estimated that in 2013 there were over 40,000 Americans (not a misprint) who died...

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Ross cooks up bad recipe for healthcare
May 13, 2014

Bennington BannerBy: Lee Russ, BenningtonI read Weiland Ross's April 29 column ("Not a nothing burger") attacking Green Mountain Care (GMC) and could only shake my head. He says Vermont is currently providing "good care to most of our people."If so, how does he explain the fact that the physicians most aware of what healthcare is really like for Vermonters -- the general practitioners -- favor a system like our planned GMC?A 2011 survey of Vermont doctors conducted by Vermont...

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ĎNo' to cost sharing
April 29, 2014

Bennington BannerBy: John Ransom, ReadsboroPerhaps the most important phrase in the Vermont Health Reform Law is "universal access and coverage." It means that all Vermonters have the right to an umbrella of health protection without barriers. This is a vital principle. As the legislature now considers the financing of this reform, it must not violate this core idea.Yet some legislators are proposing "cost-sharing" schemes which require patients to pay money upfront for their...

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More than numbers
April 22, 2014

 Times ArgusBy: Walter Carpenter, MontpelierI would like to thank The Times Argus for the editorial “Practical and moral,” in its April 12 edition. In it the Argus cites figures by the economist Paul Krugman that “7,000 to 17,000 people are likely to die each year as a result of the decision by about half the states not to join in the expansion of Medicaid authorized by the Affordable Care Act.”This is something to ponder with awe. How can a nation supposedly pledged...

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Spreading Fear About Single-Payer
April 22, 2014

 Valley NewsBy: Chuck Gregory, SpringfieldMegan McArdle’s piece (“Vermont Single-Payer: Show Me the Money,” April 17) about the unaffordability of universal health care is way off the mark. If Vermont were its own country, it would rank 20th in per-capita GDP — $38,198, according to data from the Central Intelligence Agency (2005). Adjusted for parity of purchasing power (which equalizes currencies’ worth), that puts Vermont right ahead of Belgium and 171 other...

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Health care bill will be historic
April 21, 2014

 Rutland HeraldBy: CHARLES GREGORY, SpringfieldAbout “Time Crunch” (April 20): Who would have guessed when the Legislature asked consultant Thorpe for a “Plan B” that he would serve them something other than leftovers? Well, at least his ideas were better than the well-known Republican plan of, “Don’t get sick, but if you do, die fast.”As you said, it is “an enormously complicated undertaking” that requires careful planning and scrutiny ...

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Happy with Medicare single-payer plan?
April 16, 2014

 Bennington BannerBy: DICK BOWER, BenningtonI have only one question for Mr. Harrington. Is he happy with his Medicare single payer plan? If his answer is yes, why not share these qualities with the general public through a single payer system for all? His assertion to "Forget whether or not the single payer plan is equitable or affordable or workable" cannot be ignored because Medicare has these qualities.Look, we will never have the perfect healthcare plan. Granted, the Affordab...

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Hang in there on health care
April 11, 2014

Rutland HeraldBy: JERRY KILCOURSE, MontpelierAs 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 A...

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Courage of convictions
April 10, 2014

Caledonia Record 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 comprise 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 ACA at the n...

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Wondering
April 10, 2014

 The Caledonia RecordBy: Walter Carpenter, MontpelierMr. Tom Licata's letter "Subversive goals" (Caledonian Record 3/26/2014) made this reader curious to his intentions. In this letter Mr. Licata suggests that socialism as a political movement is committing treason against our "Constitutional Republic."I was curious for several reasons. One is when he quoted Senator Bernie Sanders when asked about his being a democratic socialist by Bill O'Reilly in a March 14 interview....

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Campbell No Longer A Supporter Of Single-Payer Health Care?
April 03, 2014

The Vermont StandardBy: Ann Raynolds, PomfretHas Senator John Campbell given up his commitment to a universal, everyone-in, no one left out, publicly financed health care system, one which our governor and a majority of Vermonters are moving toward? His salvo on March 25 to a VPR reporter stating that “single payer may not be something that would be politically viable in this legislative body” leaves this supporter of Act 48 and the administration's yet unveiled financing plan w...

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Health Care Farce
April 02, 2014

 Seven DaysBy: Chuck Gregory, Springfield Paul Heintz's financial update of Vermont's advance toward a humane and rational health care system in Vermont [Fair Game, February 26] had the focus of a drunkard on his next bottle. Had he viewed the scene more broadly, he would have seen it as farce.• Spokeswoman Darcie Johnston of Vermonters for Morbidity and Mortality Freedom darkly inveighs against "big, out-of-state" union funding while she sits on her own l...

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Donít cop out on health care
March 29, 2014

Rutland HeraldBy: JUDY and MICHAEL OLINICK, MiddleburyWe urge Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell to resume his essential leadership role in bringing guaranteed, publicly funded health care to all Vermonters through implementation of Act 48.Senator Campbell was a hero in the marriage equality struggle, with which Vermont will always be proudly associated as the first state whose legislature freely recognized this basic human right.Health care for all is another fundamental human right, a...

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Donít quit before you start
March 27, 2014

Rutland HeraldBy: Ellen Oxfeld, MiddleburyThis week in a VPR interview, Senate President Pro Tem John Campbell backed away from an unwavering commitment to the historic task set out in Act 48 — creating a publicly funded guaranteed health care system for all Vermonters. Campbell’s stated reason for this is disappointing. He demurred that he was not sure that a single-payer financing plan would be “politically viable” in the Legislature because of the “cost...

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Ready for Single-Payer Health Care
March 17, 2014

 Valley NewsBy: Anna Carey, M.D., Burlington, Vt.I never read “with amusement” issues of heath care in Vermont, as Gerald Mittica stated in his March 6 letter, “What Do Politicians Know?” Instead, I follow carefully the Legislature as it focuses on changes that are needed to make health care in Vermont available to every baby born and to every elderly person at the end of his or her life. The facts are that you’d have a better chance of surviving your firs...

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Misperceptions on Health Care Reform
March 14, 2014

Manchester JournalBy: Chuck Gregory, SpringfieldRepresentative Cynthia Browning ("Reliable Investments in Health Care Reform," 3/16/14) writes, "I am not sure we can afford the risk and uncertainty, the massive tax increases, and the system disruption of the state run "single payer" GMC." Ah, yes, the old "affordability," the main reason why the US, with the world's No. 1 GDP has to be No. 37 in health care adequacy. I searched through the GDP and hea...

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In support of single-payer health care reform
March 06, 2014

Essex ReporterBy: Trevor Madore, ColchesterWhile details regarding the transition to a single-payer health care system remain, we cannot forget the benefits of these changes. The Vermont Republican State Committee resolved that Vermont’s health care exchange should be optional and provide more insurance options. While the traditional arguments of market-based health care are present, the abuse of Vermont citizens by insurance companies remains unquestioned.Not only are current health ...

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The Home Stretch: Ending The Biennium
March 06, 2014

The Vermont StandardBy: Kurt StaudterOnce again our legislative leaders will set an arbitrary date to end the session that has little to no connection as to whether the work of the people is finished. They do this every year claiming that it costs so much for each week that they are in Montpelier; that it’s the “responsible” thing to do. The problem is that when the biennium ends it’s like a giant reset button has been pressed – In November there will be an election...

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Single payer criticism omits key points
February 28, 2014

Stowe TodayBy: Jerry Kilcourse, MontpelierIn her recent commentary in the Stowe Reporter, “Single-payer system: an unhealthy choice” (Feb. 20), Heidi Scheuermann makes several comparisons and conclusions that at best mix up apples and oranges and at worst distort facts by glaring omissions.Dr. BaumanSome examples are:1. The $2 billion cost of single payer will suffocate small business and the middle class. She omits the fact that, according to the UMass study, we are already spending...

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Editorial Missed the Real Story
February 26, 2014

The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VTBy: Chuck GregoryCanadian Prime Minister Pierre Trudeau once remarked of a Time magazine article critical of his government, "People who don't have anything to do with their hands pick their nose. People who don't have anything to do with their mind read Time." The Caledonian-Record editorial board ("Bumbling Worthy Of National Mention") missed the real story behind the Newsweek story.The real story was not the state of progress o...

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Why We Support Green Mountain Care
February 26, 2014

The Caledonian-Record - St. Johnsbury, VTBy: Martha Allen, of Canaan, is a K-12 school librarian who is president of Vermont-NEAMany people may have been surprised and a little curious about the announcement last week that Vermont-NEA was backing the move toward universal, publicly funded health care. After all, the thinking goes, members of the state's largest union already have comprehensive and affordable health insurance, so why on earth would they support Vermont's efforts to become the fir...

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What's missing in letter against single-payer
February 19, 2014

By: Walter Carpenter, MontpelierThe letter "Single payer promises" by Mr. Rob Roper in the Bennington Banner (Feb. 13, 2014) is interesting for what it is missing, what it implies, and a falsehood which needs to be addressed. This is Mr. Roper's little slam at single-payer advocates who yearn for "unfettered and unlimited access to any and all medical care," whatever this means.We "true believers," as Mr. Roper snidely phrased it, have never said this.What we &...

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Facts better than spaghetti
February 17, 2014

 By: Chuck Gregory, Springfield   Apparently Marty Post (“Disaster looms in health care,” Feb. 13) thinks he can win a debate if he walks in, hurls a plate of spaghetti carbonara against the wall and shouts, “There.”  He would have done better to substitute facts for pasta. 1) We are already started with Obamacare; it’s not a particularly good system, but we have to, it’s the law. He doesn’t know this. 2) Our legislators are look...

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We cannot forget the benefits of health care changes
February 17, 2014

Deerfield Valley NewsBy: Trevor Madore, ColchesterWhile details regarding the transition to a single-payer health care system remain, we cannot forget the benefits of these changes.The Vermont Republican State Committee resolved that Vermont’s health care exchange should be optional and provide more insurance options. While the traditional arguments of market-based health care are present, the abuse of Vermont citizens by insurance companies remains unquestioned. Not only are current healt...

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Single-payer is matter of justice
February 13, 2014

By: Trevor Madore, Colchester   While details regarding the transition to a single-payer health care system remain, we cannot forget the benefits of these changes. The Vermont Republican State Committee resolved that Vermont’s health care exchange should be optional and provide more insurance options. While the traditional arguments of market-based health care are present, the abuse of Vermont citizens by insurance companies remains unquestioned. Not only are current health ins...

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Column exaggerates single-payer costs
February 13, 2014

By: Walter Carpenter, MontpelierRob Roper’s commentary “The single-payer cost nobody talks about” (Jan. 30) suggests that the universal, publicly-funded health care system Vermont is moving toward will need scores of supplements to work, adding millions more in costs from the need for wrap-around policies. This is not true. Mr. Roper cites Medicare as an example of these required “wrap-around” policies for single payer. What he leaves out, however, is that...

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Stay the Course on Single-Payer
February 08, 2014

By: Ann Raynolds, Psy.D., PomfretGov. Peter Shumlin has been steadfast in his commitment to designing a universal health care system in our state, and he has huge support from Vermont providers and consumers. Michael Costa is the financial guru hired who, with a top flight team of experts in Montpelier, is designing several scenarios for how this will work. It is highly complex, as he says, and they must do impact studies as well as crunch the numbers, and I hear them to be committed not to have...

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Single-payer system is the best roadmap
February 07, 2014

By: Ellen Oxfeld, MiddleburyIn his guest editorial, “Single-payer questions” (Jan. 23), Emerson Lynn questions the feasibility of a single-payer system in Vermont. Several of his concerns must be addressed.Dr. BaumanLynn points out that studies have estimated Vermont would have to raise between $1.6 billion and $2 billion in taxes to fund a single-payer system. However, both of these numbers are less than Vermonters now pay in premiums and out of pocket (over $3 billion per year...

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The right reasons for sound defeat
February 05, 2014

By: Chuck Gregory, Springfield Clearly editorials cannot report the news upon which they are based in full, so your board (“GOP takes stand against single-payer plan,” Feb. 2) had to exclude all the whereases that preceded the resolution the party passed.However, I was given what is purported to be a copy of the full document, so I am happy to pass it along in full: “Whereas a universal, affordable, participatory, equitable and transparent single-payer health-care plan wil...

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Private Insurance No Solution
January 30, 2014

By: Walter Carpenter, MontpelierI would like to respond to the letter “Many questions on single payer” by Ms. Kerry O’Hara in the Jan. 24 edition of the Rutland Herald. There are some things in her letter which are not exactly as benign or rosy as Ms. O’Hara depicts. I wanted to clarify at least one of these. This is the employee benefit programs which Ms. O’Hara managed as a former human resources director. Ms. O’Hara wrote that “if the insur...

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Republicans Better Not Relax Too Much
January 29, 2014

By: Walter Carpenter, MontpelierMr. Gary Murdock in his My Turn piece, “Republican, sit back and gloat,” (Jan. 8) says the Republicans, who have done absolutely nothing for health care reform, should sit back and gloat over their failure to do anything. He called the Affordable Care Act (ACA) the “greatest wealth transfer schemes the left has ever devised.”He is wrong that the left devised this scheme. It is actually a conservative idea, first employed by Repub...

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A little balance, please
January 29, 2014

By: David Schoales, BrattleboroIs a software screw-up in the health exchanges really so important we have to hear about it over and over for weeks? Is it just because it’s a government screw-up?How come we never hear about it when the visiting nurses are late or miss an appointment to care for Grampa, so Gramma misses her ride to her doctor’s appointment or can’t get groceries until the weekend? How come we don’t see coverage when the insurance company screws ...

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How single payer will work
January 27, 2014

By: Ann Raynolds, PomfretIn response to Kelly O’Hara’s letter (Jan. 24), my experience and that of many others is that the ACA (Affordable Care Act) is already not working for the many people who choose the high-deductible plans. Perhaps they couldn’t afford the non-high-deductible Silver plan or the Gold or Platinum plans. And there are the people, many of them young and healthy, who simply will not buy any plan and the ACA will fall of its own weight. However, there are...

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Profits guide insurance firms
January 27, 2014

By: Jason Kelley, West HartfordIn response to Kelly O’Hara’s letter (Jan. 24) commenting on the Herald editorial about recent developments in Vermont’s health care reform (“Getting Ready,” Jan. 21), it’s hard to know how she gained her unbridled admiration for health insurance companies. Health care costs in Vermont exceed the national average; we have the 13th highest per capita health care costs of any state. Insurance companies have shown little ...

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Study confirms single-payer benefits
January 24, 2014

From Essex ReporterBy: Ellen OxfeldThere has been much talk about a new study commissioned by the Vermont Medical Society, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and a number of other groups. It estimates the costs for a Vermont single-payer plan as being more than that estimated by another study commissioned by the state and conducted by the University of Massachusetts in 2012. But, ultimately, this study ends up confirming what all the other studies commissioned in the last decade (Lewin,...

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Mr. Lynn's doubts answered
January 15, 2014

St. Albans MessengerTo the Editor:In his editorial, “Looming questions for Vt. Legislators” (1/7/2014), Emerson Lynn raises questions about the feasibility of Vermont implementing a single payer system in 2017. Several of his concerns need to be addressed.First Lynn raises the issue of cost. He points out that some studies have estimated that Vermont would have to raise $1.6 billion in taxes to fund a single payer system while others assert it would be closer to $2 billion, and he ...

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Critique sows doubt, fear
January 14, 2014

Times Argus Sen. Joe Benning takes a page from the national party playbook on opposing Obamacare when he criticizes Vermont’s present work on universal, affordable and accessible health care. First, he sows seeds of doubt about the finances involved. Next, he spreads fear about the lack of infrastructure development. Then he calls for definite dollar amounts. He goes on to throw in a distraction — an alternative financing bill to be introduced. He proceeds to question the pace of...

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Letís lower the Medicare age and avoid the ACA chaos
January 08, 2014

The CommonsI am a fortunate 20-year beneficiary of America’s single-payer federal health insurance, Medicare. While it needs major improvement, it has excellent coverage and acceptance.Medicare provides:1) Free, fast, easy enrollment. Applicants must prove citizenship and payment into the system.2) Insurance for seniors, disabled people, and those with two specific disorders.3) Insurance independent of employment.4) Insurance for all incomes, a one-class system.5) Policies that cover indiv...

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Another reason for single-payer
January 07, 2014

Times ArgusA friend who lives in Vancouver, British Columbia, recently left her high-pressure job for one with less stress and two months off per year. Deb and her partner, Mike, who are both in their mid- to late 50s, wanted more time to travel and enjoy a more relaxed life. Fortunately, because of Canada’s single-payer system, one problem Deb never had to consider was whether her new employer offered health care benefits.During our visit last fall, Deb and Mike also said they were comple...

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Dick Tracy's column filled with errors
January 02, 2014

Vermont StandardTo The Editor,Former senatorial candidate Dick Tracy’s column (“ACA: A Lump of Coal,” 12/27) is 634 words long, and it presents an error of fact or reasoning on an average of every two sentences.To address each within the Vermont Standard’s suggested editorial guidelines would require a letter at least four time longer than his, so I will limit myself to pointing out the misstatements and poor research: 1. He does not know the effects of a bad insurance po...

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Medicare is single payer
December 26, 2013

Brattleboro Reformer Editor of the Reformer: I am a fortunate 20-year beneficiary of America’s single-payer federal health insurance, Medicare. While it needs improvement, it has excellent coverage and acceptance. Medicare provides: Free, fast, easy enrollment. Applicants must prove citizenship, paying into the system; insurance for seniors 65 and older, disabled and two specific disorders; insurance independent of employment; insurance for all incomes, a one-class system; policie...

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Medicare for All is Best Plan
December 18, 2013

Rutland HeraldThe best method of providing excellent health insurance for all Americans is to have a single-payer plan, and that plan should be Medicare. Statistical polls show that people on Medicare are most satisfied with their plan. So when is the government going to provide Medicare for all Americans? Obamacare is a good start, but a single-payer health plan would do several fine things. First, it would eliminate the “shopping around” aspect of finding an appropriate health-care...

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Confident in single-payer future
December 17, 2013

Burlington Free Press The recent study funded by the Vermont Medical Society, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and other organizations opposed to a unified payment system (“single-payer financing”) for health care (“Outside report raises concerns about Vermont’s universal health care plan,” Nov. 14) beggars belief. This new study by a Washington consulting firm concluded that health care savings for Vermonters under a unified payment system would be less than ...

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Don't lose sight of single-payer goal
December 06, 2013

Burlington Free PressThe recently released report by Washington, D.C., consultants Avalere calls into question promised savings from a single-payer health care system. Skeptics and opponents of Green Mountain Care want to see the money: where are the savings promised by Dr. Hsaio when he urged Vermont to go for single payer?Are the savings in all Vermonters having access to health care for the same amount of money being spent now?Are the savings in a healthier and more productive Vermont?Are the...

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Need better results
December 03, 2013

Times ArgusThe recent Avalere report, commissioned mainly by affiliated business groups, predictably disputes some savings that will be realized by Vermont’s Act 48 single payer health care plan. However, before opponents of single payer start victory laps, some questionable aspects of the report should addressed.The report overlooks that today hospitals and doctors in private practice write off over a $100 million a year in care when patients can’t pay their medical bills which mean...

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Savings will be there
December 03, 2013

Times ArgusThe recently released report by Washington, D.C., consultants Avalere calls into question promised savings from a single-payer health care system. Skeptics and opponents of Green Mountain Care want to see the money: Where are the savings promised by Dr. Hsaio when he urged Vermont to go for single-payer?Are the savings in all Vermonters having access to health care for the same amount of money being spent now?Are the savings in a healthier and more productive Vermont?Are the savings i...

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Report has skewed view
November 20, 2013

Rutland HeraldThe recent Avalere report, commissioned mainly by affiliated business groups, predictably disputes some savings that will be realized by Vermont’s Act 48 single-payer health care plan. However, before opponents of single-payer start victory laps, some questionable aspects of the report should addressed.The report overlooks that today hospitals and doctors in private practice write off over a hundred million dollars a year in care when patients can’t pay their medical bi...

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Study confirms: Single-payer works
November 18, 2013

Rutland HeraldThere has been much talk about a new study commissioned by the Vermont Medical Society, the Vermont Chamber of Commerce and a number of other groups. It estimates the costs for a Vermont single-payer plan as being more than that estimated by another study commissioned by the state and conducted by the University of Massachusetts last year.But, ultimately, this study ends up confirming what all the other studies commissioned in the last decade (Lewin, Thorpe, Hsiao, BISHCA, UMASS) h...

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Health Care for All
November 14, 2013

Times ArgusI’m a veteran of the U.S. Marines, and I’ve struggled with health care and poverty for almost all of my life. I’ve been without health care (including dental) for many years. There have been times when I have gone on a health care plan through my work, only to lose it because my work was seasonal, or because I couldn’t afford the premium. Last year, I applied for VHAP (the Vermont state health care assistance program). At the time, I was on unemployment and an ...

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On Veterans, Healthcare and Single Payer
November 14, 2013

Brattleboro ReformerHow very wonderful and appropriate for newspapers, TV and radio to share Veterans Day stories and photographs of veterans who have risked their health and lives for their country.What troubles me is our government’s uneven response to veterans’ post-war health care needs. Many vets may be unaware that they are not automatically covered by Veterans Administration health care. They must apply, and "qualify" in numerous ways, over and above serving their co...

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Health care a necessity
November 09, 2013

Times Argus In 2004, at the age of 57, I gave up my health insurance because I could no longer afford the premium. I lived without medical care of any kind, hoping that I would survive until 65.When I finally qualified for Medicare, I found a doctor. He sent me for all the screening tests that recently had been added as part of preventive care for Medicare patients. During the last test, cancer was detected.Even though I had Medicare, I did not have gap insurance, and so there were many asp...

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Logical way to health care
November 07, 2013

Rutland HeraldI would like to respond to the letter “Illogical path for health care “ in the Oct. 29 edition of the Rutland Herald. The author’s main points here are that single-payer health care is illogical and that universal care advocates are “like children clamoring for lollipop treats and not giving a thought to how to pay for the lollipops.”The answer to paying for the “lollipops,” as the author contemptuously put it, is that we are already paying...

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Single payer will be better
November 02, 2013

Rutland Herald With the confusion surrounding the national health care system it is important to clarify what is actually happening in Vermont. Americans will soon be required to have health insurance under the Affordable Care Act (ACA). This will probably be better for people across the country, but in Vermont it is not for many. I run a small farm in the Northeast Kingdom. Because of my low income, I currently receive coverage under VHAP, Vermont’s Medicaid, like many friends and their...

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Free market health failed
October 29, 2013

Burlington Free PressTom Licata’s letter to the editor “Say no to more government ,” (Burlington Free Press, Oct. 15) states that “Government controlled single-payer health care violates both your sovereign and natural rights.”This statement completely ignores that we the people are the government.While this is often difficult to grasp in how our government, especially our seemingly federal corporatocracy, functions (with a certain party consciously trying to destro...

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Single payer is a better system
October 25, 2013

Rutland HeraldThe problems with the ACA (Obamacare) website illustrate our convoluted, fragmented, overly expensive, and unequal health insurance system. The ACA has some long overdue reforms — the elimination of pre-existing conditions and very large deductibles and setting an annual cap of out-of-pocket costs. However, this is still an inefficient and cumbersome private insurance-based system that will still leave millions without coverage.The simplest and most efficient way to cover all...

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People confused about health care reform
October 18, 2013

Burlington Free Press Many people commenting on Vermont's health care reform have confused the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) and our state's universal health care plan that has yet to be implemented. It is important that Vermonters understand that these are two different programs, based on two very different approaches to health care and health care financing. The ACA takes effect in 2014. The recently opened "exchange" is a requirement of the ACA, which employs insurance as ...

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An elephant isn\'t a suitcase
October 17, 2013

Manchester Journal To the Editor: Ron Roper's column ("A Premium is not a Tax," Nov. 10), makes a case against publicly funded universal health care by emphasizing the differences between a health insurance premium and a tax. He says that universal care will be "Creating a government monopoly funded by a payroll tax on job creators - criminalizing them if they can't keep up." That sure sounds scary, but if you think about it: (1) that's exactly what Social Security...

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Single payer plan still under consideration
October 08, 2013

Bennington BannerWhile Vermont and the rest of the nation struggle to phase in Obamacare, we should keep in mind that even when fully implemented Obamacare will not insure everyone. According to recent Census Bureau estimates, in 2012 there were 48 million uninsured Americans. It is estimated that 48,000 Americans died needlessly last year because they couldn’t get access to timely and appropriate care. If and when Obamacare is fully implemented, there will still be about 30 million uninsu...

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Creating a single-payer plan
October 07, 2013

The Colchester SunIn Emerson Lynn’s editorial about payroll taxes for a proposed single-payer health insurance plan in Vermont (“A payroll tax? How far down the road are we?” Sept. 26), he correctly points out that we need a detailed plan to see how such taxes would impact different businesses large and small. This is a complex undertaking and the Governor has stated that his administration is now working on a detailed plan to present to the Legislature in 2015.Given that such ...

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I'd rather have public health
September 23, 2013

Times ArgusIn his letter “No thank you” (Times Argus, Sept. 6) Mr. Keith Zandy asks several questions of proponents of single-payer health care. One of these is: “When your health care decisions fall into the hands of a cold-hearted bureaucrat, and you are denied treatment that your doctor recommends due to bureaucratic red tape, will you regret your foolishness in putting your life and liberties in the hands of the government?”My answer is no. I have much experience with...

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Half the story
September 17, 2013

Times ArgusThe recent Times Argus headline “Shumlin eyes payroll tax hike” on the front page unfortunately tells only half the story of funding for single payer. It isn’t until the last paragraph on Page 3 of the Peter Hirschfeld article that we read about the “biggest health care premium reduction in American history” that should more than offset the payroll tax in dollars for all Vermonters.To emphasize in a headline only one aspect of the plan without the other i...

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Taxes instead of premiums
September 16, 2013

Times-Argus The headline of your Sept. 5 article states, “Shumlin to rely on payroll tax hikes” to fund single payer. However, this headline would be equally accurate if it stated, “Gov. Shumlin to implement the largest single premium decrease in U.S. history.” Indeed, as the article itself makes clear, taxes to fund a health care system for all Vermonters (single payer) will replace and not add to premiums, and thus they will not constitute a hike in payments for heal...

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We'll pay less for more
September 16, 2013

Times-ArgusGov. Shumlin is correct to state that taxes will have to rise significantly in order to fund the new single-payer health care system. He is also correct when he states that they will replace — and not be added to — the increasingly expensive, unaffordable, confusing and unreliable private insurance premiums, copays and deductibles that most of us are currently paying.In the end, we will pay significantly less for better and more consistent health care than we are now payin...

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High deductibles are a bad deal
September 05, 2013

Randolph HeraldI would like to respond to the letter “High Deductibles Bring Savings” in the August 15 edition of The Herald. As someone who has suffered these plans before, I am curious for whom the savings are brought to.It is certainly not the insured. They get to pay both the premiums and the deductibles, usually amounting to thousands of dollars per year, even with these HSA’S (Health Savings Accounts) added to mitigate the cost in some cases.The author wrote that “s...

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Free market does not work for health care
August 29, 2013

Rutland HeraldIn her commentary “An Unhealthy Public Policy” (Rutland Herald, Aug. 21), Ms. Darcie Johnston, founder of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, an anti single-payer group, writes that “Vermonters and Vermont’s health care system will suffer if this ‘experiment’ [Vermont’s Act 48 and Vermont’s version of Obamacare] is continued and opponents alternatives are ignored.”How so? How could Vermont’s health care suffer more that it...

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Single Payer is the Answer
August 28, 2013

Rutland HeraldI would like to respond to the letter “Let it die a quick death” (Aug. 15) where the author suggests that the Affordable Care Act will inflict “confusion and economic hardship.” Confusion, yes. Any new program will cause initial confusion until the kinks are worked out of it. Economic hardship is another matter.For one, it is difficult to find a system which inflicts more economic hardship than our current health care chaos. Our reliance on private health in...

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Colossal Wastefulness
August 28, 2013

Rutland HeraldLast week I received several pages from Medicare which purported to explain benefits they were or were not covering for visits I and my wife had made to our doctor last April.Finding them difficult to understand (references to charges not covered because they were hospital, not doctor’s office procedures, when we had only seen our doctor in his office, plus the difficulty of remembering details of events four months ago), I asked the doctor’s office to help me understan...

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Need single payer now
August 20, 2013

Caledonian Record To the Editor: I chuckled at the editorial "Getting it Good and Hard" in the Aug. 3 edition of the Caledonian Record. The heading is beautiful, though imprecisely timed. It should have been written before the era of Green Mountain Care Board, Vermont Health Connect, and Obamacare, such as it is. Then the heading would have been appropriate. We Americans have been "getting it good and hard" for decades now with all the evils of which we are all now so acute...

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McClaughry misses the point
August 20, 2013

Rutland HeraldMr. McClaughry missed the point of my letter concerning his latest commentary. Constitutional questions and semantics (tax or fine, etc.) aside, his proposal for the uninsured was similar to ACA (Obamacare) in spite of his political ideology. Both favor using of the taxing power of the IRS, in their own way, to encourage the purchase of health insurance as per his National Review article. At the risk of giving added attention to his right wing agenda, just google John McClauhgry, &...

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Health Care Reform Hardly Ambitious
July 28, 2013

Burlington Free PressThanks much to Aki Soga for his editorial “A Worthy Experiment” (July 20) where he discusses “Vermont's ambitious efforts to reform the health insurance system.”The word “ambitious” is interesting here. The rest of the democratic/technological world has for decades had such health systems in place which Vermont is now striving so ambitiously to achieve. They have all proved many times beyond a reasonable doubt that single-payer systems can...

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Controlling rising costs
July 03, 2013

Rutland HeraldRegarding your recent editorial on the alarmingly high cost of childbirth in the United States as compared to other industrialized countries, a few more observations can be added about the continuing high cost of health care in the United States that these childbirth costs exemplify.First, most other countries put their hospitals on a “global budget,” which means that hospitals are paid monthly or quarterly for their operating costs from a pool of all the money collecte...

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Why Health Care Costs So Much
July 01, 2013

Valley NewsTo the Editor:Regarding your editorial on end-of-life care and the findings of the Dartmouth Atlas, (“End-of-Life Care and Costs,” June 18) a few observations are in order about the continuing high cost of health care.Some people blame overutilization, and by extension blame fee-for-service by saying that it encourages physicians to order more procedures. This is a straw man that needs to be put to rest. In Europe, with much lower costs per capita (and longer life expectan...

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Single-payer worth the struggle
June 19, 2013

Burlington Free PressThank you for Donald MacDonald’s May 15 letter on health care. He is right. Single-payer will be one of the best things to happen in Vermont and, with luck and determination, across the country.That doesn’t mean there will be an easy, seamless transition. How could there be? Moving from domination of health care by giant insurance companies to an “everybody in, nobody out” system in which everyone is guaranteed access to good, affordable care will be ...

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Exchange is not single payer
May 31, 2013

Rutland Herald  The May 27 Times Argus article on page one unfortunately adds to the confusion concerning the changes in health care for small businesses, various individuals, and families starting in 2014. The article mixes up “Green Mountain Care” with “Vermont Health Connect”. Green Mountain Care is Vermont’s single-payer health care plan. Vermont Health Connect is the state’s health benefit exchange plan of the Affordable Care Act (Obamacare) and incl...

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How to monitor single payer
May 31, 2013

Rutland Herald The Green Mountain Care Board is considering how best to ensure oversight of Vermont’s new health care system.In 2005, the League of Women Voters of Vermont adopted a strong advocacy position in support of a single-payer health care system for Vermont. The league considered several oversight models, including legislative oversight as specified in S.147, a single-payer system vetoed by then Gov. Douglas; independent review by an assessment service such as used by the Vet...

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Let's move toward freedom from want
May 15, 2013

Burlington Free Press Single-payer health care is one of the best things to happen in Vermont and the nation. It ranks with legislation such as Social Security, Rural Electrification, Land Grant Colleges, Homestead Act, GI Bill, to name a few. Where would we be without the Interstate Highway System? You can take the old road, I’ll take the interstate. Bring extra sandwiches.John McClaughry in his “My Turn” (“Single-payer health care squeezes out freedom,” April...

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Making progress on health care
April 13, 2013

Rutland HeraldAs the Vermont Legislature works down to the wire on its budget, I want to congratulate our Democratic and Progressive House members who, working together, have put a positive budget out that should make all Vermonters proud. Yes, there is a push and pull nationally on economic issues during this prolonged downturn. I am so proud of Gov. Shumlin’s efforts to work towards a single-payer health care system for all those who are not covered by either Medicare and Veterans Admini...

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Disturbing changes to health care
April 13, 2013

Burlington Free PressIn the 1970s I lived and worked in England, and was on the National Health System. I had good care and never had to worry about whether I’d be able to afford it. I am thrilled that Vermont is moving in the direction of universal health care and wish it could happen sooner than 2017.Meanwhile, disturbing changes are afoot for participants in VHAP and Catamount, which will have to shut down at the end of 2013. This is driven by the federal Affordable Care Act, which is h...

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Time to protect health care
April 12, 2013

Rutland HeraldJohn McClaughry’s commentary (“11 questions about health care,” Times Argus, March 29) seems to answer more questions than it asks. Mr. McClaughry’s questionnaire is hardly an accurate guide to the inevitable inquiries which will come up as we near 2017 — the year when the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare, stipulates that Vermont can start its own single-payer system.The health insurance exchanges are part of the ACA. While an improvement over the cu...

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Moving ahead to health reform
April 09, 2013

Rutland HeraldThanks to Mimi Morton for refuting John McClaughry’s attack on Vermont’s coming single-payer health care system.Of course there will not be an easy transition from a system run for insurance company profit to one run for the benefit and improved health of all the people. Uncertainties and obstacles on the path are inevitable. One, unfortunately, is the health care exchange, which we must endure before progressing to single-payer.The exchanges are entirely separate from ...

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Libertarian rant out of touch
April 06, 2013

Rutland HeraldJohn McClaughry’s libertarian rant against Vermont’s future single-payer health care system (Rutland Herald, April 3) is out of touch with contemporary economic realities.In McClaughry’s 1 percent fantasy, we don’t need universal, publicly funded health care because we can and should obtain private health care for ourselves. If we can’t afford it, too bad for us. In reality, most Vermonters, like most Americans, are in the other 99 percent. Vermont nee...

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Proposed cuts to VHAP, Catamount are unacceptable
March 20, 2013

The Commons OnlineIn the 1970s, I lived and worked in England, and was in the National Health Service. I had good care and never had to worry about whether I’d be able to afford it. I am thrilled that Vermont is moving in the direction of universal health care and wish it could happen sooner than 2017.Meanwhile, disturbing changes are afoot for participants in Vermont Health Access Program (VHAP) and Catamount Health, which will have to shut down at the end of 2013.This is driven by the fe...

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Health care claims are bogus
March 19, 2013

Rutland HeraldComments in the recent Times Argus article with the headline “Uninsured drop nearly a third,” there were two appalling findings from the Department of Finance survey that were omitted from the article:— In the 2012 survey, 15.6 percent of Vermonters, or 96,000-plus, had forgone health care due to cost. One reason many tend to put off primary care is due to high deductibles and copays. Minor medical conditions then lead to major ones resulting in huge hospital bill...

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Single payer plea
March 12, 2013

Rutland HeraldYour Feb. 25 article (“Self-funded insurance complicates single payer”) states that self-funded insurance plans (covered by the ERISA law) might complicate Vermont’s path to single payer. In fact, as Robin Lunge, director of health care reform for the Shumlin administration, correctly points out in that article, there is no legal barrier to participation of all Vermont employers in a single payer plan. She is not alone in this view. The top ERISA experts in the co...

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Shumlin right on health plan
February 27, 2013

Rutland Herald The Shumlin administration made the right call in not advancing a detailed single-payer financing plan at this time. If Jeff Wennberg and his Vermonters for Health Care Freedom would bother to actually read the UMass study, the last few pages give them the reason why — we don’t yet have the information necessary to prepare a menu of intelligent policy choices. Chief among that information is a clear and statistically reliable profile of the existing private health in...

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Single-payer's many benefits
February 16, 2013

Rutland HeraldOn Jan. 24, the Shumlin administration presented their report on the financing for a single-payer health care system in Vermont. This report demonstrates, as all previous reports on single-payer have done, that a single-payer type health care system will simultaneously save Vermont substantial amounts of money while providing better care as well as access to care for all Vermonters — something the mess we have now has consistently failed to do and never will accomplish no mat...

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Single payer remains the goal
February 15, 2013

Rutland HeraldInsurance 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...

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Time to try health care that works
February 03, 2013

Burlington Free PressThe Shumlin administration presented a report on financing a single payer health care system to the Legislature on Jan. 24. It once again demonstrates that we can provide comprehensive health care to all Vermonters at less overall cost. This is the latest in a long line of official reports that has come to the same conclusion about single payer.The report shows that we will save $281 million over the first three years of a single payer system in Vermont. All Vermonters will ...

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How Much More is Needed?
February 02, 2013

Rutland HeraldPredictably, Jeff Wennberg of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, in a recent Times Argusarticle, is trying to spread fear and mistrust, once again, of the Green Mountain Care “single payer” health care plan due to be implemented in 2017. For example, the latest report by the UMass medical group that Mr. Wennberg calls misleading estimates savings of approximately $280 million over the first three years.The Lewin Report in 2001, the Thorpe Report in 2006, the Hsaio Repo...

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Moving ahead on health care
February 01, 2013

Rutland HeraldDespite recent confusion around federally mandated health care exchanges, work continues around the state to assure that we will have a single-payer system in 2017 that will result in more people getting better coverage for less money. This process doesn’t get much media attention, which is too bad because it is good news.In an effort to reduce the growth of health care costs, the Green Mountain Care Board has pending proposals with Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services ...

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Make exchange more affordable
February 01, 2013

Brattleboro ReformerFor years, Vermont has led the way in making health care accessible and affordable by giving low- and middle-income Vermonters the chance to buy insurance through the state's VHAP and Catamount Health programs.However, Catamount Health and VHAP will be eliminated when Vermont's Health Care Exchange begins in 2014. Approximately 30,000 of our fellow Vermonters who are either enrolled in or eligible for these programs will have to buy insurance through the Exchange, which in mo...

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Single-payer is best option
January 31, 2013

Rutland HeraldPredictably, Jeff Wennberg of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, in a recent Times Argus / Rutland Herald article, is trying to spread fear and mistrust, once again, of the Green Mountain Care single-payer health care plan due to be implemented in 2017.For example, the latest report by the UMass Medical group, that Mr. Wennberg calls misleading, estimates savings of approximately $280 million over the first three years. The Lewin report in 2001, the Thorpe report in 2006, the Hsai...

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Single payer will work
January 30, 2013

Rutland Herald Last week’s report to the Legislature on financing a single-payer health care system demonstrates once again that a single-payer system will provide comprehensive health care to all Vermonters at a lower cost. These are the two most important benefits of a single-payer system, universal coverage and manageable costs. According to the report, in the first three years alone, Vermont will save more than $280 million while providing every Vermonter with comprehensive, quality h...

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Health Care Update
January 30, 2013

Brattleboro ReformerEditor of the Reformer:Despite recent confusion around federally mandated health care exchanges, work continues around the state to assure that we will have a single-payer system in 2017 that will result in more people getting better coverage for less money. This process doesn’t get much media attention, which is too bad because it is good news.In an effort to reduce the growth of health care costs, the Green Mountain Care Board has pending proposals with Centers for Me...

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Report shows reforms work
January 29, 2013

Rutland HeraldThe Shumlin administration presented a report on financing a single-payer health care system to the Legislature on Jan. 24. It once again demonstrates that we can provide comprehensive health care to all Vermonters at less overall cost. This is the last in a long line of official reports that has come to the same conclusion about single-payer.The report shows that we will save $281 million dollars over the first three years of a single-payer system in Vermont. All Vermonters will b...

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Donít expand health costs
January 19, 2013

Rutland HeraldVermont is ahead of most other states in helping its citizens gain access to relatively affordable health coverage through programs like VHAP and Catamount Health. As someone doing outreach to educate Vermonters about and help them enroll in public health care programs, I see their benefits every dayThat’s why I am disturbed to hear that Gov. Peter Shumlin believes low- and middle-income Vermonters on Catamount Health should pay more for their health care when the health bene...

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Put People First: Health Care for All
January 10, 2013

Montpelier BridgeTo the Editor:I am an uninsured resident of Vermont. I work on a fruit tree nursery in the Northeast Kingdom, doing work that I love and that contributes to the health of the land, the health of Vermonters and the local economy. I work hard and live simply, yet I cannot afford insurance or health care. I am afraid of having an accident at work or getting sick and losing my savings due to an emergency. I want to take care of myself, yet I cannot go in for preventative care. This ...

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Why health insurance is going up
January 04, 2013

Caledonian RecordTo the Editor:The announcement of large spikes in health care premiums for school and town employees is generating a lot of concern among taxpayers. Insurance companies are raising our premiums because they can't make money on their investments. Since Wall Street trashed the financial system, stocks and bonds and money markets pay practically nothing. Take a look at your savings account since 2008 and you'll see the problem.Insurance companies can do this because we the people d...

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You only asked half the health care question
December 27, 2012

Caledonian Record To the Editor: I really have to take issue with your recent editorial "A Funding Problem" (Dec. 12). You ask "What tax rates on personal and corporate income, capital gains, and net worth would be required to enable the Green Mountain Care Board to adequately cover the health care costs of up to 621,000 Vermont residents?" Since Green Mountain Care will replace the current health care system, not simply be appended to it, the real issue is how does curre...

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Don't go backwards on health care
December 19, 2012

Rutland HeraldVermont has accomplished more than most states to help working Vermonters gain access to affordable health coverage through programs like VHAP and Catamount Health. We are at the forefront of heath care reform and once again Vermont was named as the healthiest state in the nation.Why would Gov. Shumlin advocate for increasing costs to working Vermonters, when the health benefit exchange starts January 2014, and moving the state backwards?VHAP and Catamount Health will end January 1...

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Let's not go backward on coverage
December 16, 2012

Rutland Herald As director since 2000 of a program whose mission is to help the uninsured and underinsured stay healthy, I was concerned with Gov. Peter Shumlin’s comments in Sunday’s Rutland Herald and Times Argus saying that “state health care subsidies for working class Vermonters might be more generous than they need to be, and that some residents here could soon be facing higher insurance premiums and deductibles.”Vermont has been ahead of the nation for years i...

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Proud of health care reform
December 09, 2012

Burlington Free Press The arrival of Human Right’s Day (Monday) is especially noteworthy this year; international public health groups such as the World Health Organization are seriously considering the possibility of achieving universal health care throughout the entire world in the not too distant future. Despite being the wealthiest nation in the world, the United States stands out as perhaps the only advanced nation not to have universal health care. Human care as a basic right i...

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Vermontersí needs more important than ideal of free market system
December 06, 2012

Bennington BannerIn a Banner column on Nov. 27 ("A way forward for the Vermont GOP"), Rep. Heidi E. Scheuermann of Stowe proposes that the Republican Party needs to reinvent itself. She said, "We need thoughtful, intelligent debate on the proposals put forward by others, yet instead of intelligent opposition, we sound lifeless and uninspiring -- and sometimes idiotic, angry, and petty." She went on to say "It is time that we join together to reinvigorate, reinstitute, an...

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Arrogant Argument
November 30, 2012

Stowe ReporterThe recent Times Argus commentary concerning the future of the Vermont Republican Party by Rep. Heidi Scheuermann, of Stowe, is interesting but only partly accurate. Her candid observation that many Republicans often sound “angry,” “idiotic” and “petty” concerning legislation they disagree with is spot on. However, another problem still exists.Until many Republicans stop using clichés such as “non-invasive government,” “p...

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Canadians laughing at us not with us
November 16, 2012

Deerfield Valley NewsMy wife and I took a vacation in Maine in mid-September. In the lobby of the motel where guests flock for free coffee, I ran into two couples from Toronto. It didn’t take long for the Canadians to swing the conversation over to a subject that truly baffles them: how in the world can the United States cling to a health care system that is so obviously broken and unfair and expensive? Adding to their bewilderment is the fact that the entire rest of the Western world has ...

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U.S. health care is a joke
November 09, 2012

 My wife and I took a vacation in Maine in mid-September. In the lobby of the motel where guests flock for free coffee, I ran into two couples from Toronto. It didn’t take long for the Canadians to swing the conversation over to a subject that truly baffles them: How in the world can the United States cling to a health care system that is so obviously broken and unfair and expensive? Adding to their bewilderment is the fact that the entire rest of the Western world has abandoned this ...

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My own experience with Canadian health
November 09, 2012

Stowe Today To the Editor: I have been asked by many of my American friends and associates to provide information about the medical services available to Canadians who are both covered under the country-wide federal plan and under a company private plan. As a former Quebecer, now married to an American citizen and a permanent resident of the U.S., I am no longer covered by the benefits package, which, I, as a small-business owner, obtained for my own company. Details of this plan are includ...

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Single payer soon enough
October 13, 2012

Regarding the Vermont Public Radio news report on October 10 about how we will pay for single payer: It seems disingenuous for Randy Brock to complain about the administration bothering to make a recommendation in January 2013 that won’t be acted on immediately when he has been complaining all along about not getting the recommendation for a financing plan sooner, and when he expresses concern that people might not like it.You can’t try to change something you don’t yet know. R...

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Carpenter: Must Tackle Health Care Head On
October 08, 2012

I would like to endorse the Burlington Free Press’s endorsement of single-payer in Aki Soga’s editorial, “Give single-payer a try” (Sept. 28). As Mr. Soga suggested, Vermont has to move forward rather than backward and to finally come to grips with how health care is for us, the people, and not to benefit the profit margins of health insurance corporations, as it is now and which Sen. Brock’s plan would almost certainly enhance.Opponents of single-payer like to band...

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Malek: Will Doctors Really Flee Vermont?
October 01, 2012

by Marvin Malek, MD MPH, who is an internist who works at Central Vermont Medical Center in Berlin.In their efforts to thwart Vermont’s health reform effort, opponents of reform are peppering the media with scare tactics. Prominent on this list is the assertion that if we proceed with the reform effort, huge numbers of physicians will exit the state.As a practicing physician, I know that our decisions on where to live and practice involve many factors. Most important are the specifics of t...

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Brockís health plan is a sham
September 29, 2012

Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock’s health care proposal (“Brock says he got good ideas from Maine, Indiana, and Florida,” Times Argus, Sept. 9) is an enigma wrapped in a mystery and put into a fallacy.It is an enigma why Sen. Brock believes that the free market can, and is more than willing to, solve the health care ills that it created. Can an industry which excludes so many, that spends so much of every health care dollar (up to 30 percent and more) on non-healt...

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Brock wrong on health care
September 13, 2012

Rutland HeraldMy Aunt Bessie often prefaced her remarks about a mutual acquaintance with “You couldn’t hope to meet a nicer guy.” Then she would trash him. I can only say about gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock’s health care plan (“Brock lays out plans for health care,” Sept. 9), “You couldn’t hope to meet a sweeter health care plan.”It is based on the premise that competition in the health care industry is about providing the best service....

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Market no solution for health care
September 13, 2012

Rutland HeraldIn the recent Times Argus/Rutland Herald article Randy Brock seems to think the “magic bullet” of the “free market” can be applied to health care and provide us with universal coverage. His thesis essentially says that all we have to do is deregulate the health insurance industry by relaxing community rating rules, make it more like Maine’s, and the markets will take care of our health care needs.Before the 1990s this deregulation is exactly what we ha...

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Same tired arguments
September 12, 2012

Caledonian Record To the Editor: Randy Brock has released an outline of his health care proposal. It is a repeat of the same tired arguments that we have been hearing for decades, with ideas that are the foundation of our current dysfunctional American health care "system." Mr. Brock repeats the free market myth about the need for "abundant competition." But the worn-out notion that more insurance companies will contain costs and provide universal coverage is completely d...

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Who is open and who is not?
August 04, 2012

Rutland HeraldI read Peter Hirschfeld’s article, on the recent informative TV ads supporting Green Mountain Care, with great interest. These ads are sponsored by Vermont Leads, which is led by Peter Sterling. I was very impressed by Sterling’s candid and open information about the objectives and financing of his Vermont Leads group. Clear, open, up-front. This is the Vermont way of doing things.I was surprised and disappointed that Jeff Wennberg was called up to critique Vermont Lead...

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The Main(e) Problem
August 02, 2012

Times Argus Imagine a world where the difference between paying $9,000 or $3,000 for a particular plan depends solely on age. Or a place where you purchase what seems like an affordable health plan only to be denied coverage until you have paid almost $24,000 in medical fees and $1,000 on medications out of your own pocket. Unfortunately, this is the reality faced by the people of Maine — this is the same system that Sen. Brock hopes to emulate in Vermont.Maine is in a race to the bottom t...

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Not a big surprise
August 01, 2012

Times ArgusJeff Wennberg’s perspective piece “Who’s Outsmarting Whom” in the July 22 edition of The Times Argus takes innuendo and tries to twist them into facts to promote fear.Mr. Wennberg, who is the executive director of the group opposed to single-payer, Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, wrote that the costs of the single-payer system (the key word here is system. We do not now have a system of health care) “should have been the first question asked and answe...

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Vermont heading in right direction
July 29, 2012

Rutland HeraldIn his recent opinion piece (July 22), Jeff Wennberg has criticized recent actions of the Shumlin administration with regard to the road forward to a single-payer health care system.Mr. Wennberg criticizes the administration for applying for federal grants for health care. It’s true that the Shumlin administration has applied for money from the federal government. Much of this will help to implement the exchange which is required by federal law in 2014. But some of these fund...

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McClaughry -- the real apostate
July 23, 2012

Rutland HeraldIn John McClaughry’s recent Rutland Herald commentary, he takes Justice Roberts to task for his vote on the Affordable Care Act. In addition to lecturing us on constitutional powers regarding the A.C.A., he also accuses Roberts of apostasy, an interesting metaphor considering his (McClaughry’s) previous position on the uninsured. More on that later.Although the A.C.A. has some needed reforms, it is still a long way from providing universal and affordable comprehensive h...

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Health care and general welfare
July 21, 2012

Rutland HeraldDr. John McGarry’s letter, “Insurance can’t cover everything” in the July 13 edition of the Rutland Herald, is difficult to decipher. Is the letter’s intention to prove that health care is not a human right? There is Dr. McGarry’s reference to the U.S. Constitution that “our only rights are the ones spelled out in the Constitution, and they’re all abstract entities.” Would it be possible to imagine that “to promote the gen...

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Robertsí rescue of high court
July 18, 2012

Rutland Herald John McClaughry ascribes Justice Roberts’s tie-breaking vote in support of the Affordable Care Act to a quest for enhanced reputation. But Linda Greenhouse, in a perceptive New York Times op ed (http://opinionator.blogs.nytimes.com/2012/07/11/the-mystery-of-john-roberts/) says that although Roberts “is conservative to his bones,” he may have been horrified by “the breathtaking radicalism of the other four conservative justices,” who, in rejecting...

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Green Mountain Care born in Vermont
July 11, 2012

Burlington Free Press In his June 8 letter, Dan McCauliffe states “the Canadian health care system that was chosen as a model for Green Mountain Care is one of the worst systems to emulate.” Was Canada chosen as the model for Green Mountain Care? In fact, there is no mention of Canada in Act 48, Vermont’s road map to single payer. In terms of coverage, the types of plans being considered are pretty close to home as well. Act 48 states that Green Mountain Care (Vermont Singl...

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Many Children Lack Health Care
July 02, 2012

Rutland HeraldAs a high school teacher, I know many students who do not have health insurance. Although many people in Vermont think that children are covered in Vermont, this is actually a misconception.Doctor Dynasaur does cover many children, but it is not universal. Many families do not know about Doctor Dynasaur, do not meet income requirements, or are unwilling to pay premiums. Many children, through no fault of their own, are left without insurance, and they suffer the consequences.One su...

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Quality Health Care?
June 29, 2012

Times Argus I think we can all stop worrying about Mr. Prindiville’s predictions about loss of quality health care in Vermont. Anyone who is surprised to learn that U.S. Medicare and other health insurance is not accepted by health care providers in foreign countries can scarcely be regarded as knowledgeable. As for the young boy in the wheelchair, he could easily wait that long or longer in many an American E.R., and in any case, one patient can hardly be a fair measure of anything. Co...

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Rationing is already here
June 29, 2012

Times Argus If you are worried about “healthcare rationing,” I have some news. It isn’t rationing when a boy has to wait hours in a Canadian ER with a non life-threatening problem. This happens in any ER: if you aren’t going to die, you have to wait behind those who might. I’ve had the same experience in America. This, however, is rationing: I can’t get the drugs my doctor prescribed for me, because the insurance company won’t pay for them. This is rat...

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Canada good model for Green Mountain Care
June 29, 2012

Burlington Free PressI would like to respond to the letter “Canada Wrong Model,” by Mr. Dan McCauliffe, in the June 10 Free Press. Mr. McCauliffe wrote that “Canadian-style health care is a bad model for Green Mountain Care.” There are several points in this letter that need to be addressed or clarified.First, I was unaware that the Canadian Health Care system was the model that the Green Mountain Care was going to emulate in full. It has never been explicitly stated, eit...

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Comprehensive, universal, healthcare a must
June 22, 2012

Burlington Free PressRandy Brock’s primary strategy to become our next governor is to target Act 48 and Green Moutain Care and prevent the eventual transition to universal health care such as “single payer.” These attacks include blaming Act 48 for the closing of the Rutland Regional Rehab Center due to a duplication of services in the Rutland Area, although other key services at the center remain intact.Mr. Brock’s plan of unrestricted proliferation of out of state insur...

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Care for people, not profits for corporations
June 18, 2012

Bennington BannerI’m Jeffrey Haslett, a member of the Vermont Workers Center and the State Coordinator for the We the People Congress and Constitutional Lobby. Article 20 of our Vermont Constitution gives "we the people" a right to petition our government or to â¤instruct their Representatives.So, we the people are petitioning Green Mountain Care to invest public money into keeping our population healthy with no out-of-pocket personal costs for universal access to co...

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It is a human right
June 16, 2012

Bennington BannerI am a small business owner living and working in Burlington, and I am a member of the Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign. As an entrepreneur, I am proud to be able to create jobs in my community, but I want to be able to provide good, family supporting jobs. Providing health insurance to our employees is a huge concern for us -- in fact we are considering cutting back and not creating new jobs so we don’t have to deal with the health insurance headaches. Currently, we a...

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Brock's plan makes it worse
June 15, 2012

Rutland HeraldRandy Brock’s primary strategy to become our next governor is to target Act 48 and Green Mountain Care and prevent the eventual transition to universal health care such as “single payer.” These attacks include blaming Act 48 for the closing of the Rutland Regional Medical Center rehab center due to a duplication of services in the Rutland area, although other key services at the center remain intact.Contrary to his claim, a single payer would reduce costs by elimi...

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Smoke and Mirror Terminology
June 15, 2012

Brattleboro ReformerEditor of the Reformer:John McLaughry writes ("Decoding the language of Green Mountain Care," June 11) about Green Mountain Care, the health care system now being developed for Vermont. He faults the GMC board, headed by Anya Rader Wallack, for dodging the term "single payer" in describing the unified and universal health care system the board is charged with designing. He assumes they do that to avoid "a comparison with the 40-year-old government-run...

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Decoding McLaughry
June 14, 2012

Times ArgusJohn McClaughry’s June 11 letter “Decoding the language of Green Mountain Care” is vintage McClaughry. The Shumlin administration’s Green Mountain Care represents, for McClaughry, a perfect storm battering his libertarian ideals.McClaughry considers the GMC board’s use of language misleading and opaque, but McClaughry’s own writing could do with some decoding. He claims that the Shumlin administration has proceeded at “flank speed” (a na...

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Single Channel is Cheaper
June 13, 2012

Times ArgusMr. Brock’s idea of increasing the number of medical insurance companies for greater “competition” as a counter to the current health reform is a bad idea. One of the major problems in our current medical care delivery system is the insurance industry. Each insurance company negotiates a different payment/charge for every hospital. In fact the same insurance company can negotiate a different payment rate for all procedures/tests for every contract it writes for any g...

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Brock's plan makes no sense
May 30, 2012

Rutland HeraldRandy Brock, the Vermont Republican gubernatorial candidate advocates opening Vermont up to all kinds of private health insurance including, in his words, “high-deductible policies.” In your paper’s recent article on Brock’s health care plan (May 25), he states, “We can ensure that health insurance is available to everyone and no Vermonter is bankrupted by catastrophic illness.”No Vermonter bankrupted by catastrophic illness if we allow high-dedu...

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Private Insurance No Solution
May 29, 2012

Rutland HeraldThe Rutland Herald recently reported that Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock is preparing “a free market” alternative to Gov. Shumlin’s single-payer health care proposal. Brock offers the usual Republican prescription about the need for less government involvement and more free market forces. He reverts to the illogic that Vermont “needs to recruit lots of new insurance companies to come to Vermont so consumers have more plans to choose from.&rdq...

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This is what transparent looks like
May 22, 2012

Times Argus Another day and another misleading letter from Jeff Wennberg and Vermonters for Health Care Freedom (“Lack of Understanding,” May 15). Jeff continues to call VHCF a business group, but I can’t find any mention of a single Vermont business listed on the group’s website. In fact, I can’t find any information regarding the membership of VHCF anywhere. Whom do they represent? Where are they getting their money? Jeff refuses to tell Vermonters exactly who ...

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Real health care reform overdue
May 22, 2012

Burlington Free Press The numerous commentaries by Jeff Wennberg and Bruce Lisman along with their TV and radio ads, ad nauseam, are long on fear and loathing of Green Mountain Care, the Vermont Legislature, and the Shumlin administration regarding real health care reform, and short on alternatives of any kind. This is especially true concerning the “single-payer” issue as the above duo turns a blind eye to the fact that every other advanced country has a universal health care ...

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Health care fails to deliver
May 17, 2012

Rutland HeraldJohn McClaughry is at it again (Monday, May 7). He assumes that somehow “ObamaCare,” as he calls it will bankrupt the country, while conveniently forgetting that the present system of private “health” insurance companies is doing just that — and at the same time leaving Americans near the bottom of the heap in terms of longevity compared to other industrialized nations.Ten and 15 percent annual rate increases are not sustainable, John. He’s perfe...

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Must keep moving
May 15, 2012

Times Argus The numerous commentaries by Jeff Wennberg and Bruce Lisman along with their TV and radio ads, ad nauseam, are long on fear and loathing of Green Mountain Care, the Vermont Legislature, and the Shumlin Administration regarding real health care reform, and short on alternatives of any kind. This is especially true concerning the “single payer” issue, as the above duo turns a blind eye to the fact that every other advanced country has a universal health care plan with be...

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Propaganda and Anonymity
May 12, 2012

Rutland HeraldPropaganda is the strong point of those who oppose changing our expensive health care mess into a single-payer system. An example is Wednesday’s letter from Jeff Wennberg, spokesman for Vermonters for Health Care Freedom. His anonymous “Freedom” group won’t say who gives it money. Wennberg defends nondisclosure as necessary “to protect the hundreds of Vermont small businesses and health care providers who support us from bullying and economic blackmail...

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Wennberg's shifting story
May 11, 2012

Times ArgusMr. Wennberg is telling a shifting story about health care.Mr. Wennberg, in a response to my earlier letter, now seems to be backing away from advocating insurance outside of H.559, Vermont’s implementation of the exchange. This is good. I am glad he now says, “For the exchange to serve its purpose, the state needs to set the standards and approve all plans offered there.” I heartily agree. I hope we hear no more from him about insurance “outside of the exchang...

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Health Care Plan Untested?
May 09, 2012

Manchester JournalTo the Editor: You may not have seen it, but the folks at Vermonters for Health Care Freedom (VHCF) have made a pretty slick 8-minute video that they apparently sent to all our Vermont legislators.The crux is that our health care reform is too untested, too complicated, just beyond our abilities to institute. That's a pretty bizarre claim.Too untested? Really?Did VHCF simply miss the fact that the entire rest of the developed world has health care systems much closer to our new...

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Health Care Plan a Plus
May 09, 2012

Manchester Journal To the Editor: 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 ...

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No "shenanigans" in health care reform
May 07, 2012

Burlington Free PressIn her recent opinion piece on health care (“On health matters: watch the shenanigans,” May 1), Rep. Heidi Scheuermann uses terms such as “shifty” and “shenanigans” to characterize the work of our Legislature regarding health care legislation this session. Her main complaint is that while the Catamount program has been eliminated, the Employer Assessment that paid for it (assessed on those employers who do not cover their own employees) co...

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Vermont health care in intensive care
May 07, 2012

Burlington Free PressI thought robust meant healthy, strong and sustainable. So why is Bruce Lisman and his Campaign for Vermont calling themselves a “robust” effort to secure Vermont’s future (“Vermont fails badly at transparency,” April 12). Has Mr. Lisman missed the last 10 years of studies showing that the current state of health care in Vermont is heading toward the intensive care unit? Our current situation is not robust and will not remain robust with Bruce L...

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Following money to insurers
May 05, 2012

Rutland HeraldMr. Wennberg complains that Vermont’s implementation of H.559 limits insurance to those who meet the criteria and are listed on the Vermont exchange. He conveniently ignores the fact that health coverage within the exchange must meet minimum standards for each of the coverage levels, bronze, silver, gold, etc. This means that the insurance companies must provide standard, well-defined coverage and compete on cost. This is good for the Vermont consumer. Insurance companies com...

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Move beyond status quo
May 04, 2012

Rutland HeraldRecent commentaries have likened progress toward Vermont’s single-payer health care system to driving through a thick fog.If so, much of the fog is generated by single-payer foes such as Jeff Wennberg’s secretively-financed “Vermonters for Health Care Freedom,” which aims to push single-payer into the ditch by confusing and frightening us.Although the details of Green Mountain Care are still incomplete, the planners are not groping in the dark or pushing the...

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We need accessible health care in Vermont
May 04, 2012

Caledonian RecordTo the Editor:I recently moved to Vermont to participate in and learn from the farmers and fruit tree growers of this region. I'm passionate about growing good food and caring for the earth, and I want to build a life and make a living practicing community based agriculture.However, I have major fears about pursuing this line of work because I can't afford health care or health insurance. I know that it would only takes one disaster to wipe out my savings. This experience is com...

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Status Quo is Worse
May 03, 2012

Caledonian RecordTo the Editor:I would like to respond to the editorial "Tax in search of a program" in the April 12 edition of The Caledonian-Record. There were many misconceptions with this piece that need to be illuminated and, of course, too little space in which to do it.One is the ludicrous assertion that "Catamount Health is a socialist scheme that gouges money from business and showers it on Vermonters deemed worthy by Montpelier." Catamount is as much a socialized sy...

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Vermonters are already in a health care crisis
April 28, 2012

Bennington BannerVermonters are already in a health care crisis.I am writing today to address some of the negative advertising targeted at the Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign. A video produced by Vermonters for Health Care Freedom claims that the new universal healthcare law will create a health care crisis for 80,000 Vermonters. In my view most, if not all Vermonters are already in the midst of a health care crisis. Private insurers are more interested in profit margins than in your or my ...

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Scare tactics on health reform
April 28, 2012

Burlington Free Press I found Jeff Wennberg’s letter on April 3 “Single-payer is not the only option” interesting. Considering that he’s executive director of the Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, I expected to hear some solutions about how they would serve the health care need of all Vermonters, especially the uninsured and underinsured. None was forthcoming. Instead Wennberg tried to use scare tactics to support his stand. His points were weak and he left plenty...

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Lisman has no solution
April 23, 2012

Times-Argus In the recent op-ed, Bruce Lisman writes, “Is health care reform important? Of course it is. Yet politicians in Montpelier are ‘rocketing’ us to a new system without showing us the cost.” Really, Mr. Lisman is apparently ignorant of or is ignoring four official studies commissioned by the state on health care costs since 2001. These include the Lewin report in 2001; the Thorpe report in 2006; the Hsiao report in 2011; and BISHCA report in 2011. The findings ...

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Profits over health care isn't working
April 21, 2012

The Colchester SunI am writing to thank Mr. Lawrence Keyes for his letter “Willing to take the risk of health reform” in the April 5 edition of The Colchester Sun. A wrong turn on a web link led me to Mr. Keyes’ excellent letter. I hope that the editors of The Colchester Sun will forgive that I am not local.Mr. Keyes’ letter was refuting an editorial by Mr. Bruce Lisman (“Vermont fails at transparency” March 29) of a group called “Campaign for Vermont.&r...

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Real affordable health care
April 19, 2012

Brattleboro ReformerMany Vermonters have expressed concerns about the transitional "health care exchange" process. It is important to keep in mind that this is not part of the single-payer system being developed by the Green Mountain Care Board. Under the benefits plan described by the GMC Board all Vermonters will have a simpler, more coordinated, incentive-driven healthcare system. Compensation for providers will be value-based -- they get paid to improve patient outcomes at the...

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Ways to control health care costs
April 17, 2012

Brattleboro ReformerI am proud to support Vermont’s health care reform movement. Even former Governor Douglas said he was in favor of universal access; and he also introduced Vermont’s Blue Print for Health and Medical Home model for chronic care. These models of care have already improved health care and reduced hospitalizations and costs. The Shumlin administration is determined that Vermont’s health care (an eventual single payer plan) will succeed. He asserted in a March 26...

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Health care critic offers no alternatives
April 13, 2012

Burlington Free PressI appreciated the contrast between your two contributors on health care issues, (Comment and Debate, April 3). Allan Ramsay is a physician who has practiced many years in Vermont, and who is now on the Green Mountain Care Board. He gave an insightful account of the difficulties he experienced with a fee-for-service system where reimbursements varied widely. He then discussed in some detail two attainable paths forward toward the goal of reducing costs while improving quality...

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Reform opponents offer no alternative
April 13, 2012

Brattleboro Reformer In response to Jeffrey Wennberg's column ("Debating the future of health care in Vermont," March 24): Wennberg wants it both ways. He seems to deny that his group.........offers no alternative health care reform plan, yet his lengthy editorial passes up the opportunity to tell us what that alternative might be. All he has to say is "such alternatives are readily available for consideration" and "if you want an example of reforms that can work...

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Old "Experiment"
April 11, 2012

Seven DaysThanks so much for the article “Spin Doctors” by Kathryn Flagg in the March 21 edition of Seven Days. It is refreshing to have the “spin doctors” shown for what they are and what they are trying to do. If anyone wants to understand what they are propagating, try going through the American, and Vermont’s, health care system like I once was obliged to do. I nearly succumbed to the experience. Like Mr. Potter going to Wise County, Va., to watch people being t...

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Health Care Reform is Not Untested
April 11, 2012

The Mountain TimesDear Editor,You may not have seen it, but the folks at Vermonters for Health Care Freedom (VHCF) have made a pretty slick 8-minute video that they apparently sent to all our Vermont legislators. The crux is that our health care reform is too untested, too complicated, just beyond our abilities to institute. That's a pretty bizarre claim.Too untested Really? Did VHCF simply miss the fact that the entire rest of the developed world has health care systems much closer to our new s...

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Exchange is not single payer
April 11, 2012

The Mountain TimesDear Editor,Many Vermonters have expressed concerns about the transitional "health care exchange" process. It is important to keep in mind that this is not part of the single-payer system being developed by the Green Mountain Care Board.Under the benefits plan described by the GMC Board all Vermonters will have a simpler, more coordinated, incentive-driven healthcare system. Compensation for providers will be value-based- they get paid to improve patient outcomes at t...

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Health care is unaffordable
April 07, 2012

Rutland HeraldI moved to Vermont 10 years ago, fully expecting to retire here as I had stream of income that would get me to the age of 63 and, I thought, enough savings to make it to Social Security and Medicare. Then, slowly, the reality of health insurance hit.My wife and I watched our annual premiums grow like kudzu, choking out everything around it until it was all we could see. Premiums of $9,000, $11,000, $14,000 and up.Switching to a high-deductible policy got us some premium relief, but...

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Willing to take the risk of health reform
April 05, 2012

Colchester SunBruce Lisman’s March 29 perspective in The Colchester Sun (“Vermont fails at transparency”) raises questions of risks and uncertainties as Vermonters grapple with health care. While acknowledging that significant change carries with it significant risk, I would point out that Vermonters elected Peter Shumlin as governor on his willingness to attempt to tackle rising health care costs, and to reform the unworkable system in which consumers and doctors now find them...

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Vermont can do health care, regardless
April 04, 2012

Bennington BannerGovernor Peter Shumlin recently stated that regardless of the U.S. Supreme Court decision regarding the Affordable Care Act, Vermont can and must continue down the road of creating a single payer health care system. He is right.No matter what happens at the federal level, we Vermonters are already paying the bill for a broken system, and single payer is a much better way to create access to health care for all Vermonters in a cost effective way.Right now, 200,000 Vermonters are ...

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Object to Scare Tactics Against Single Payer
April 01, 2012

Burlington Free PressI have to object to the coordinated campaign to convince Vermonters that our health care reform law is some crazy radical idea being foisted on an unsuspecting public. For an idea that opponents consistently mischaracterize as "radical" and destructive of freedom, it certainly has some strong support from mainstream folks.Start with passage of the law. Do you really think your Vermont state senators and representatives are wild-eyed radicals? How about the League o...

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Ignorance is amiss on health care
April 01, 2012

Rutland HeraldI would like to respond to Mr. Jeff Wennberg’s commentary “Health Care Freedom at Risk” in the March 18 edition of the Times-Argus. Mr. Wennberg, the new executive director of Vermonters For Health Care Freedom, suggests that a publicly-financed health care system will, in short, eliminate choices, and turn things over to a “single, state-selected provider” that will ration our health care.This conveniently ignores several factors about the system whic...

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Cost questions good for health care reform
March 31, 2012

Burlington Free PressA recent (Feb. 26) letter in the Free Press ("How will health care be financed") questioned how Vermonters will finance health care in the wake of the landmark bills passed by the Vermont Legislature in the past two years (Acts 48 and 559).The sudden emergence of citizens asking similarly thoughtful questions is a really exciting development and a sign of good things to come. The dominance of health insurance behemoths which have continued to increase rates faster ...

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Support Universal Health Care in Vermont
March 28, 2012

Burlington Free PressSkeptics and opponents of Green Mountain Care want to see the money: where are the savings promised by Dr. Hsaio when he urged Vermont to go for single payer? Are the savings in all Vermonters having access to health care for the same amount of money being spent now? Are the savings in a healthier and more productive Vermont? Are the savings in employers being able to invest in their businesses and employees instead of in insurance companies?After a two-year study, the Leagu...

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Doctor flight is no big risk
March 25, 2012

Times ArgusRe: “Health care freedom at risk” by Jeff Wennberg in Sunday’s paper:Mr. Wennberg makes every effort to scare Vermonters about a future in which universal health care will be implemented in Vermont.I won’t quibble with his opinions, but when he claims them to be truths, it’s time for a fact check.When he mentions that 12 physicians in Rutland recently threatened to leave our state when universal health care is implemented, it’s worth putting that in...

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Health Care Predictions False
March 24, 2012

Rutland HeraldOver the last several months Wendy Wilton has garnered a lot of attention with her “Model of Green Mountain Care.” She often shares the table with prominent Republican leaders including Randy Brock. I think it is time we look at her numbers closely and share her errors with the public.Reviewing Wendy Wilton’s projections shows that a number of her facts and assumptions are inappropriate, misleading and sometimes simply wrong. It seems she entered her project with ...

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Reform Puts Dollars Into Health Care
March 24, 2012

Burlington Free PressI am writing in response to a letter in the Burlington Free Press of Feb. 26 by Diane Ballou who asked how our new health care system is going to be financed before the election. “I have a suspicion that our new health care system is going to be impossible,” she wrote. To answer Ballou’s question we are already financing it to the tune of $5 billion a year, soon to be $6 billion, with costs rising by a $1 million a day.What is impossible is for the state of...

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Donít lose any sleep over supply of doctors
March 22, 2012

Stowe ReporterTo the Editor:I have to take issue with the assertions in Mr. Steve Chambers’ letter (Stowe Reporter, March 15) regarding the health-care legislation passed last year by the Vermont Legislature.He makes it clear that he doesn’t like the legislation, describing it as “reckless,” a “train wreck” and even “Marxist.”His comments were based on a recent symposium at the public safety building which brought to Stowe three staunch opponents o...

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Single-payer will benefit everyone
March 22, 2012

Stowe ReporterTo the Editor:Regarding Steve Chambers’ opinion column March 8, “The Green Mountain Scare,” is trumped up by Vermonters for Healthcare Freedom, whose funders — probably the insurance industry — are unidentified.Financing for Green Mountain Care is not yet spelled out because it cannot be implemented before 2017, when the necessary waivers may be obtained. By federal law, Vermont must first create a health-care exchange, which is entirely separate and r...

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We can turn around this ailing system
March 22, 2012

Stowe ReporterTo the Editor:In response to Steve Chambers’ letter March 15, “The Green Mountain Scare”:Dear Steve: If Green Mountain Care is scary, what word would you use to describe our current health-care system? The term “health care” in this country has sadly become an oxymoron. Our health care does not represent the values of decent Americans.If you look at the chart from the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development published in the National Geogr...

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Single Payer Plan Not Radical
March 22, 2012

Manchester JournalTo the Editor: I have to object to the coordinated campaign to convince Vermonters that our health care reform law is some crazy radical idea being foisted on an unsuspecting public.For an idea that opponents consistently mischaracterize as "radical" and destructive of freedom, it certainly has some strong support from mainstream folks.Start with passage of the law. Do you really think your Vermont state senators and representatives are wild-eyed radicals? How about t...

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Working Out Health Reform Takes Time
March 21, 2012

Burlington Free PressIn her Feb. 26 letter (“How will health care reform be financed?”), Diane Ballou writes, “I have a suspicion that our new health care system is going to be impossible and so I would just like to know before the election how it is going to be financed.”Does she mean Vermont’s ultimate goal of a single-payer health care system or the temporary exchange which federal law requires us to implement first? Remember: the exchange currently under discuss...

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Not a grassroots organization
March 20, 2012

Caledonian RecordTo the Editor:After attending the health care forum in Lyndonville on Feb. 27 conducted by Darcie Johnston of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, I found it disingenuous that it was advertised in The Caledonian-Record as Vermonters for Health Care Reform. I was also insulted by the way this group was portrayed in the paper as a grassroots organization.This portrayal may be partially true. Yet, after having attended a number of health care forums and testimonies, including many a...

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Freedom to be Bankrupted
March 20, 2012

Rutland HeraldTo the Editor:Joan Spaulding (“Keeping us dependent,” March 6) offers a powerful, patriotic incentive to the easily duped. She offers us all the “freedom” to stay sick, the “freedom” to have a fender-bender bankrupt us in the emergency room, the “freedom” to lose our job for lack of medical care, the “freedom” to lose our home because we lost our job, the “freedom” to join the 50 percent who are bankrupted beca...

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Health care is a public good
March 13, 2012

Rutland HeraldI would like to respond to the piece, “Keeping us Dependent,” in the March 6 edition of the Rutland Herald. In this letter, the author, Ms. Jean Spaulding, writes that “Single-payer health insurance does not sound American to me.” If single-payer is not American, does this disqualify the millions of elderly people on Medicare or our military veterans with the Veterans Affairs from being American? Both Medicare and the Veterans Affairs are pure single-payer s...

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Health Reform Distortions
March 13, 2012

Bennington BannerI have to object to the coordinated campaign to convince Vermonters that our health care reform law is some crazy radical idea being foisted on an unsuspecting public. For an idea that opponents consistently mischaracterize as "radical" and destructive of freedom, it certainly has some strong support from mainstream folks.Start with passage of the law. Do you really think your Vermont state senators and representatives are wild-eyed radicals? How about the League of Wo...

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League supports single-payer
March 10, 2012

Times ArgusSkeptics and opponents of Green Mountain Care want to see the money: Where are the savings promised by professor William Hsiao when he urged Vermont to go for single-payer?Are the savings in all Vermonters having access to health care for the same amount of money being spent now?Are the savings in a healthier and more productive Vermont?Are the savings in employers being able to invest in their businesses and employees instead of in insurance companies?After a two-year study, the Leag...

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Single Payer Secures Freedom
March 08, 2012

Rutland Herald The recent negative ads on TV and radio by the mysteriously funded group, Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, are an obvious attempt to derail any future universal health care plan. However, if they are truly interested in real health care freedom for Vermonters, as their name implies, they should actually support a single-payer system. Some of the freedoms inherent in such a plan that would benefit Vermonters are: Freedom from high premiums and large deductibles and copays, a...

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Health Care Reform Can Save Money
March 08, 2012

Burlington Free Press Diane Ballou ("How will health care reform be financed?" Feb. 26) asks to know how Vermont's new health care system will be paid for. This is like expecting an excavator to give you a bid on fixing your driveway without knowing what's wrong with it, how long it is, or what kind of surface it has. Until we know what the benefit package will cover and what subsidies will be available and who will be included, we can't even guess at what it will cost. That work h...

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True Health Care Freedom for all Vermonters
March 07, 2012

  Washington WorldEditor: It is in the interest of every Vermonter to support the Vermont Legislature’s efforts to plan and implement a single payer health care system. It is important to realize that as a single state among 50, we must comply with the Affordable Care Act (ACA) enacted by Congress last year. Therefore, the most recent legislation passed out of the Vermont House of Representatives, H. 559, is solely working to comply with the ACA’s mandated health care ...

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What is known about health care
March 04, 2012

Rutland HeraldA recent article in the Herald and Times Argus (Feb. 19) convinced me there is a lot of smoke blowing around in the conversations about the cost of changes in health care. Some is based on estimates and projections, and some is clearly purposeful misinformation. But it is all made up. The simple truth is nobody can say what it will cost because nobody knows yet what will be covered. But everyone knows costs will increase beyond our ability to pay if we continue with what we have.Th...

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Misleading ad on health care
February 28, 2012

Rutland HeraldVermonters for Health Care Freedom is an apparently well-funded group that is opposed to the effort in Vermont to establish a universal single-payer health care system. They have recently begun airing an ad on WCAX that is, in my opinion, misleading. It is misleading as to the cost of the new health care system. It is misleading in that the name of the group, Vermonters for Health Care Freedom, implies that the new health care system is a threat to the freedom of Vermonters.The ad ...

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Single Payer Will Cut Costs
February 24, 2012

Rutland HeraldOpponents of Vermont’s future single-payer health care system need to look ahead into the realities of health care financing in both Vermont and the nation. The Rutland Herald recently reported “universal opposition from residents” during a packed Feb. 18 forum in Wells that considered the pros and cons of a single-payer system in Vermont. The opponents might consider that Vermont chose single-payer as the best solution for its out-of-control insurance costs.A was...

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Cutting Out the Middleman
February 20, 2012

Rutland HeraldThe organization “Vermonters for Health Care Freedom” is running a web ad in which a woman complains that Gov. Shumlin wants to “uproot” our current health care “system” and spend $5 billion for a single-payer system. She implies that the governor is dishonest in refusing to reveal how he intends to raise the $5 billion until after the election. The ad ignores that we are already paying $5 billion for a system in which one-third of Vermonters hav...

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Vermont needs strength and will
February 16, 2012

Stowe ReporterI would like to respond to the letter “Can Vermont fix health care?” by Helene Martin in the Feb. 9 edition of the Stowe Reporter.“I worry,” Ms. Martin wrote, “that Vermont ... will not be able to afford to fix our broken health-care system, but believe we are trying.”We are trying. Like Ms. Martin, I also support a system where health care is treated as a public good, not as a market commodity. A nearly fatal journey through the nightmare of thi...

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Health Care Should be a Public Good
February 15, 2012

Times Argus Misleading information and other distortions have plagued efforts for real health care reform in the past and will no doubt again in the future. For example, John McClaughry states in his recent Times Argus article (Jan. 26) that Vermont has only two health insurance carriers “thanks to laws passed in 1991 and 1992 specifically to drive their competitors out.”These “community rating” laws he referred to were established so that all Vermonters could buy he...

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Can Vermont Fix Health Care?
February 04, 2012

Stowe ReporterI have long been a supporter of a single-payer system for health care. Currently, health-care costs nationally represent 18 percent of gross domestic product.I worry that Vermont, as a state with only 627,000 people, will not be able afford to fix our broken health-care system, but believe we are trying.Evidence that our health care is broken:• 50 million people are uninsured (statistics are from T.R. Reid’s book “The Healing of America”).• 30 percent of...

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Green Mountain Care Criticism Premature
January 27, 2012

Burlington Free Press Randy Brock, a contender for governor in 2012, and others of his political persuasion have targeted the Green Mountain Care Board as a campaign issue. Although the Green Mountain Care Board, mandated by Act 48, has barely begun its work for real health care reform, Brock and other reactionary pundits are already trying to trash its existence even before any plan has been formulated! Expect to see more of the same during this election cycle. All other industrialized nati...

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Why We Need Health Care Reform
December 12, 2011

Burlington Free Press I would like to thank Pat McDonald, chairwoman of the Vermont Republican Party, for her "My Turn" piece in the Dec. 1 edition of the Burlington Free Press ("Health Care report ignores big questions"). McDonald illustrates so perfectly why we need the complete and systematic health care reform that Vermont embarked on when Gov. Shumlin signed H.202 last May. "The government," she wrote, "needs to make smart and rational decisions, and be ...

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The Morality of Health Care
November 27, 2011

Rutland HeraldI would like to thank Dr. Ted Shattuck for his commentary “Vermont can lead the way” in the Nov. 13 edition of the Rutland Herald and Times Argus. Dr. Shattuck made some valid points that seem to have gone missing from our long and tortuous debate on health care reform.In one of these, for instance, Dr. Shattuck wrote that, “22,000 to 45,000 Americans die of preventable deaths each year due to a lack of basic health care.” These are staggering statistics of ...

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Community Health Care Forums Helpful
November 15, 2011

Burlington Free Press In the last few weeks, I have participated in several Vermont health care forums, including a forum sponsored by Richmond legislators Anne O'Brien and Jim McCullough, and VPIRG. Thanks to these groups, I am learning how different communities feel about health care reform. People of Vermont understand the need for universal health care coverage for everyone in our state. And no one questions that rising health care costs, close to 20 percent of our state's economy, cann...

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Vermont Can Lead the Way
November 13, 2011

Times-ArgusBy Dr. Ted ShattuckOpponents of Vermont’s attempt to provide universal health care access to all of its citizens are using the usual weapons — anecdotal stories, budgetary uncertainties — to derail this vital process. While there is much talk of economics (more later), we need to keep our eye on what is really at stake: our moral right to health care, both as individuals and as a nation.Our own Institute of Medicine estimates that 22,000 to 45,000 Americans die of pr...

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Commitment to Community
September 09, 2011

Rutland HeraldAll who treasure and respect life are fortunate to live in Vermont, where sense of community continues to be a key characteristic. Our experience with and continuing responses to the aftermath of Irene illustrate how caring and sharing benefit us all. When I travel, people express great appreciation for the standards and leadership of our small state.Vermont’s ground-breaking commitment to provide equitable health care to all its citizens recognizes health care as a human rig...

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Single Payer Plan RIght for Vermont
July 27, 2011

Burlington Free PressI want to support the governor's health care single-payer law, signed in May, to introduce the Green Mountain Care Plan.This is the right thing for the citizens of Vermont. There needs to be a groundswell to get this type of legislature as a federal priority. I noted that the US 6th Circuit Court of Appeals in Cincinnati, Ohio ruled on June 29 that The US Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 is constitutional, including the fact that from 2014 most citizens sho...

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The Six Neophytes Have Found A Solution
June 07, 2011

Caledonian RecordTo the Editor:I would like to respond to the editorial "Six Neophytes In Search of A Solution" in the May 20th edition of The Caledonian-Record. This is The Caledonian-Record's endorsement of an earlier editorial it printed by Mr. Rob Roper, where he labeled six members of the house and senate health committees who played key roles in the passing of H.202, "neophytes," as though they had little experience and less qualifications to take on the job of reformin...

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Health Care Competence
June 04, 2011

Health care competenceCaledonian RecordTo the Editor:In his recent column questioning the competence of the members of the House and Senate health care committees to undertake meaningful health care reform, Rob Roper concluded with the question: 'Honestly, if you were the head of a probable $5 billion health care corporation, would you hire any of these people to run it?Our answer is, of course, not on your life.'That would not be my answer. Given a choice between the citizen legislators on thos...

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Single Payer is the Answer
May 27, 2011

Rutland Herald Single-payer is not about health care — it is about paying for it. Because of a historical fluke, insurance companies got into it. When employers competed for scarce labor during World War II, offering higher wages was not permitted to prevent inflation. So they offered “free” health insurance to be more competitive. Second, insurance is based on statistics and probability, which actuaries use to calculate premiums. But since everybody needs health care soone...

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Treat health care as public good
May 01, 2011

As one of thousands of self-employed Vermonters who cannot afford health insurance, the health care legislation currently in the Statehouse is very exciting. Many would have us believe that a universal health care system would take away from our freedom and choice but I can tell you by personal experience that the current system does nothing but deny me those things.If we really want to support Vermont's independent spirit we should separate access to health care from employment, so that small b...

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Background on health bill
April 28, 2011

While in a meeting recently the subject of the legislation regarding the single-payer health plan currently being worked on in the Vermont Legislature came up for discussion. I admitted to the group that I did not understand it or how it would work. Then my education began. I am sure I am not the only Vermont resident who feels in the dark about this critical piece of legislation. Therefore, I want to share with everyone what it means and how it will work for the betterment of all of us.Most of ...

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Doctor Survey Flawed, Irrelevant
April 20, 2011

I am truly perplexed as to why so much attention is being misdirected to Rep. George Till’s recent survey of Vermont doctors concerning single-payer health care reform. At best, it is much ado about nothing.The methodology is blatantly flawed. Barely a third of the 1,686 postcards Dr. Till sent out to doctors were completed — a very small sample — and by whom where they actually completed? I personally know of several non-doctors who responded to the survey, and others have rel...

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Health care should follow the person, not the job
April 20, 2011

I am a 34-year-old Vermonter, and I believe that Vermont should move forward courageously to enact a public health care system that includes each and every one of us, without exception.In my adult life thus far, I have had a number of jobs that do not offer benefits, including seasonal and temporary jobs. I am blessed to currently hold a job with good insurance. However, many of us are not as fortunate. It is common practice for employers to offer per-diem, part-time or temporary positions to av...

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Democracy to prevail in health reform
April 20, 2011

The recent news report on the meeting between IBM and other business executives and Gov. Peter Shumlin provided a chilling reminder of how government usually functions in the United States. The executives are shown entering the governor's office smiling and bristling with confidence, and perhaps even a little arrogance, that they are the ones who call the shots and that they expect government officials to do what they want.In this instance, they appear both in the television and print media to b...

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Father of single payer honored in Canada
April 20, 2011

A lot of static is being generated to blind Vermonters to the truth of the universal health care program being developed in our Legislature. One of the biggest boogie men is the Canadian system, where people supposedly wait weeks for care and months for surgery. If any of this were accurate, how does one explain why Tommy Douglas, the "father of single-payer in Canada" was voted "The Greatest Canadian" of all time in a nationally televised contest organized by the Canadian Br...

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Single Payer plan a big plus for Vermonters
April 19, 2011

While in a meeting recently, the subject of the legislation regarding the single-payer health plan currently being worked on in the Vermont Legislature came up for discussion.I admitted to the group that I did not understand it or how it would work. Then my education began. I am sure I am not the only Vermont resident who feels in the dark about this critical piece of legislation. Therefore, I want to share with everyone what it means and how it will work for the betterment of all of us.Most of ...

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Health care reform helps self-employed
April 19, 2011

As one of thousands of self-employed Vermonters who cannot afford health insurance, the health care legislation currently in the Statehouse is very exciting. Many would have us believe that a universal health care system would take away from our freedom and choice, but I can tell you by personal experience that the current system does nothing but deny me those things. If we really want to support Vermont's independent spirit we should separate access to health care from employment, so that small...

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Act on opportunity for health care for all
April 19, 2011

Now that insurance companies and "nay-sayers" are stepping in to derail our long, long battle to have health care recognized as a right of citizenship rather than something paid for by private insurers, it is urgent that we, the majority of Vermonters, let our opinions be known to our legislators. Insurance is wonderful for life, property protection and other quality items. However, our very health needs to be guarded by our society as a right of our existence, rather then how much we ...

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Past time to go slow on health reform
April 19, 2011

As we look at health care reform in Vermont, people are talking a lot about having to wait to get the care we need and that there will be long lines and rationing. I don't know what health care system they are living in, but what they are describing sure sounds a lot like the system that we have now. Anybody who is uninsured or underinsured is already waiting and already rationed.The other thing that I keep hearing is that we need to go slow. We've been at it for over twenty years, so how much s...

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Health care should be a public good
April 19, 2011

As someone who struggled with access to health care during college, I firmly believe that health care should be treated as a public good. The last thing that college students should have to think about is whether they will be able to stay in school or pay for doctor visits and high priced medications. This is exactly the issues I faced as an undergraduate. I have good insurance these days, but it breaks my heart to think that countless Vermont students face the same problems I faced in college.S...

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Take a look at health care
April 18, 2011

(I am writing in response to Val Loureiro's letter of April 13.)Take a look at health care.The writer cites "longer waiting times, cuts in services, doctors leaving, and the possibility of smaller hospitals closing" as the potential pitfalls of health system reform. I'm curious: Has Ms. Loureiro tried to access health care in the Bennington area recently?AdvertisementIt is almost impossible to find a primary care doctor, and, if one is able to do so, appointments for new patients are n...

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Single-payer would value what\'s important
April 13, 2011

  My fellow physician, Dr. C.W. Cobb, asserts in his recent letter that under a single-payer system physicians would be taken for granted ("Single-payer takes doctors for granted," March 30). Yes, single-payer systems take doctors for granted. They take for granted our education, training and experience. They take for granted our dedication to our patients. They take for granted that we and our patients can decide between ourselves what care is most appropriate for each patient w...

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Does Business Call the Shots?
April 12, 2011

  The recent WCAX news report on the meeting between IBM and other business executives and Gov. Peter Shumlin provided a chilling reminder of how government usually functions in the United States. The executives are shown entering the governor's office smiling and bristling with confidence, and perhaps even a little arrogance, that they are the ones who call the shots and that they expect government officials to do what they want. In this instance, they appear both in the television and pr...

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Single-payer Promises Solutions
April 07, 2011

Burlington Free PressOur current health care system is severely broken. We all know that. It is flagrantly wasteful of money. It is painfully unjust. The H.202 single-payer bill holds out the promise of being cost effective, and of fair solutions, e.g. equal access to health care regardless of diagnosis or social class. I urge us all to support H.202.STUART GRAVES, MDSouth Burlington ...

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Bill is major step forward
April 07, 2011

Rutland Herald Bill is major step forward Since 1993 the League of Women Voters of the U.S. has had an advocacy position calling for a national health insurance plan financed through general taxes. Until that happens, the LWV of Vermont believes a state program can and should provide such health care to the residents of Vermont. Based on a two-year study, the LWVVT supports a publicly funded, single-payer comprehensive, universal, equitable health care system. There should be increased access...

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Health care is a public good
April 06, 2011

Rutland HeraldI am writing this letter after reading John McClaughry’s column, “Single-payer: promise and reality.” John has got it wrong. As usual when people of his political belief try to justify their position, many times fear of the unknown is used to defend their argument.In H.202, as it passed out of the House to the Senate, it was not a single-payer bill; it was a universal health care bill. A single-payer system is one way to achieve universal health care, but there ar...

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What Canadians have to say
April 05, 2011

Rutland Herald   A lot of static is being generated to blind Vermonters to the truth of the universal health care program being developed in our Legislature. One of the biggest boogie men is the Canadian system, where people supposedly wait weeks for care and months for surgery. If any of this were accurate, how does one explain why Tommy Douglas, the “father of single-payer in Canada” was voted “The Greatest Canadian” of all time in a nationally televised conte...

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Fomenting Fear on Health Care
April 04, 2011

(Rutland Herald) When all else fails, make people afraid of change. That apparently is the strategy of many opponents of any “universal” health care plan. For example, at a recent meeting at the Statehouse that I attended, an anesthesiologist compared universal coverage for Vermonters as leading the way to dictatorships similar to Hitler, Mao and Pol Pot. (I guess Stalin didn’t make the cut.) Another opponent at the same meeting relayed secondhand anecdotal evidence of a hospi...

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My Turn: Businesses for Health Care Reform
March 31, 2011

Burlington Free PressThe Vermont House took bold and necessary action on March 24 by passing the universal health care bill, H.202. There are many businesses in this state that support reform because they believe the current health care system is unsustainable, inefficient and unfair. Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility is one statewide business association that believes inaction is not an option and that businesses large and small, all across the state, will benefit from an improved sy...

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End Corporate Gamesmanship
March 25, 2011

End corporate gamesmanship (RH) Your calm and insightful editorial on the hysterical nature of opposition to the single-payer debate was much appreciated. It’s interesting to note that as the debate unfolds, the supposed ills of single-payer, as put forward by the insurance industry — long delays in treatment, cost, lack of consumer choice — are actually the very reasons that the current system needs to be either replaced or overhauled. Years ago I worked for a time at The ...

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Insurers block hospital care
March 23, 2011

Rutland HeraldI appreciate the paper’s good report on the hearings held on March 14 across the state of Vermont. Each person who testified was limited to two minutes. Most of us spoke from our hearts and our own experience and therefore the timing was not precise. I was not able to finish my testimony for this reason so the quote from me which you used in the article, though accurate, needs a bit of clarification.My point was that it is the insurance companies who make the decision to deny...

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Let Vermont lead on health care
March 14, 2011

Rutland HeraldThe time is long over due for this great nation to provide all of its citizen with good and accessible health care. As a public psychiatrist practicing in public clinic settings over the last 15 years I have seen how lack of insurance and underinsurance has led to extensive suffering for both individuals and their families.In my experience, the hard-working middle class has been the worst affected. They make too much to be eligible for programs for the poor, but have no health cove...

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Support Vermont's Health Care Reform
March 13, 2011

Burlington Free PressSince 1993 the League of Women Voters of the US has had an advocacy position calling for a national health insurance plan financed through general taxes. Until that happens, the LWV of Vermont believes a state program can and should provide such health care to the residents of Vermont.Based on a two-year study, the LWVVT supports a publicly-funded, single-payer comprehensive, universal, equitable health care system. There should be increased access to primary care facilities...

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Illness doesn't abide by free market system
March 03, 2011

Burlington Free PressIn his Feb. 1 My Turn, Joseph P Blanchette's "Fatal conceit" is that health and its unfortunate partner, illness, don't abide by free market principles in a just society. Under free market principles, profit and fortune amass and the nonprofitable "goods" disappear as competition thrives. In the healthcare field, the "goods", however, are people and people's lives.In our current profit-driven system, 44,000 lives annually in our country are felt...

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Letter: Time to Recognize Health Care as Right
February 27, 2011

Burlington Free PressI am excited about Gov. Shumlin's proposed health care bill, H.202. For too long, our country has embraced a corrupt system that benefits insurance and pharmaceutical companies while leaving people to face insurmountable costs to accessing health care. It is a crime for large corporations to profit off of even a single person's health. Access to adequate and affordable health care is a human right that must no longer be administered along the lines of wealth, especially in a...

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HIstoric Opportunity is Now
February 01, 2011

Burlington Free Press: Comment & Debate Deborah Richter, President, Vermont Health Care for All Praise has been heaped on the 120-some page report issued by the Harvard health economist, William Hsiao, and his working group. Words like historic, ground-breaking, and masterful are used, and since I entirely agree I will put them to use as well. The report is called "Act 128 Health System Reform Design: Achieving Affordable Universal Health Care in Vermont" but will ...

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Vermont Applauded for Its Medicare-like Move
January 09, 2011

Boston Globe I APPLAUD The Globe for showcasing Vermont’s single-payer “laboratory’’ in its Jan. 2 editorial “Vermont: Creating a singular health system.’’ As a third-year medical student at Cambridge Health Alliance, I’ve found that it doesn’t take long to see that the current system is insufficient. The shortcomings leave patients whom I follow longitudinally with less access to community health centers, substance abuse treatment, and s...

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Push for Universal Health Care in Vermont
December 22, 2010

Burlington Free PressOn Dec. 10, I heard Sen. Sanders, during a filibuster in opposition to the Obama-Republican tax bill, read letters he had received from Americans. Each one told a story of hardship and struggle to make ends meet. One person was a part time worker in Stowe who related that his hours had been decreased. The reduction in monthly income has forced him to choose walking eight miles to/from to work or heating his home this winter. God help him and his family if he were to become i...

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Improving Access, Reduces Cost
December 22, 2010

Burlington Free PressEven though the United States is a signatory of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, whose anniversary we observed this Dec. 10, it still treats health care as a commodity instead of a human right. Everyone needs health care, regardless of their "lifestyle." In particular, everyone needs primary and preventive care, which can both improve health and reduce the need for expensive chronic care. The idea that we can control the cost of health care by denying car...

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Universal Health Care Worth the Price
December 22, 2010

Burlington Free Press  I am writing to you on Dec. 10, the anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Here in Vermont we still do not yet have the right to health care even though every other industrialized country recognizes healthcare as a human right. Everyone should be entitled to receive the health care they need when they need it and no one should have to pay more than they can afford. Our health care system functions as a source of income for powerful pharmaceutical, ...

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AARP Ties Represent Ties to Health Insurers
June 30, 2010

Burlington Free Press Senate bill S. 88 clearly states that the commission shall consist of no members with a relationship to health providers or insurers. Jim Leddy as president of AARP Vermont obviously has such a relationship, volunteer or not. Since one of the designs mandated in S. 88 is a single-payer-type health care plan, any tie to the health insurance industry is an oblivious conflict of interest. AARP makes a substantial portion of its income from brokering so-called Medi Gap poli...

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Tool of Insurance Industry
June 25, 2010

Rutland Herald Although Jim Leddy, the representative of the AARP members to the national organization, is a principled man, one question not yet answered is “Why appoint him?” AARP is a billion-dollar-a-year business, with $600 million of its revenue generated by merchandising — and AARP gets 10 percent on the premiums it generates through policy packages it merchandises to Vermont’s elderly. So why should this particular principled man get appointed to the commission...

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Shap Smith\'s Appointment Against Law
June 15, 2010

Shap Smith's appointment against the law (RH) Naming Leddy violates law Shap Smith, speaker of the Vermont House of Representatives and a lawyer practicing in Burlington, is not above the law and therefore will need to rescind his appointment of Jim Leddy, president of AARP in Vermont, a health insurer, to the state’s Health Care Commission. The law recently passed known as S.88 clearly states that the “two non-voting members with experience in health care shall not be in the emplo...

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Need a Good Health Planner
May 31, 2010

Need a good health planner (Rutland Herald) Now that S.88 has become law, we will need a good architect to design a health care system for Vermont that is universal and can contain costs. Your editorial of May 23 mentions professor William Hsiao of the Harvard University School of Public Health. Professor Hsiao testified before the Legislature this past year at the request of Senate President Pro Tem Peter Shumlin. Professor Hsiao is one of the world’s leading experts in designing unive...

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Douglas: Sign Health Care Bill
May 17, 2010

(Rutland Herald) The Vermont Legislature recently passed S.88, a health care reform bill. Vermont and Massachusetts have led the nation in health care reforms. These reforms have not been perfect, but are steps in the right direction. The 2010 federal health care bill was based in part on the Massachusetts model (signed by Mitt Romney) and the Republican health care plan presented in 1993 (individual mandates and minimum benefit packages) as an alternative to the Clinton plan, proposed by Rep...

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Time Ripe for Single Payer
March 22, 2010

Rutland Herald We Americans are alone among the citizens of the industrialized nations of the modern world to constrict access to affordable, quality health care for all of our people, denying it to many in fact. The corporations whose enormous profits flow from the present system (or a new one that would guarantee their advantage) have such a grip on the policymakers that widespread citizen efforts are effectively ignored. Vermont for Single Payer is organized to promote state-level, single-p...

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What Burton Actually Said
March 18, 2010

What Burton Actually Said (BFP) There he goes again. Burton's decision to move its manufacturing jobs to Austria led the governor to say that taxes need to be rolled back. But the CEO said nothing about state taxes, which are a very small component of business costs (and of course we have no idea how much Burton pays, although we do know they received $1.8 million in EATI/VEPC credits and were just awarded another $1.6 million in VEGI/VEPC "incentives"). The CEO did mention health c...

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Finding Way to Health Care
March 18, 2010

Published: March 18, 2010 (Rutland Herald) The Rutland Herald has published two letters from Michael and Judy Olinick relating to Vermonters' access to health care. These letters have been followed each time by an "answer" by Ralph Colin. I believe the Olinicks' first letter was a statement offered for readers to consider on the merits of the information offered. Mr. Colin's first response resorted to name calling and insults along with stating his version of the facts. The Olinic...

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Single Payer Entirely Possible
March 09, 2010

Rutland Herald Replying to our March 4 letter, Ralph Colin asks us to explain how an individual state can adopt a single-payer health plan "without overthrowing the federal government" or eliminating "the requirement" that businesses contribute toward health insurance (or health care) for their employees. Neither we nor any single-payer supporters we know advocate overthrowing the federal government. And of course there is no requirement at all that businesses fund health c...

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Vermont Must Act on Health
March 04, 2010

Rutland Herald It should be clear now that whatever anemic health care bill President Obama wrings out of Congress will be a mockery of the thoroughgoing reform he promised during his campaign. The bill may include a few improvements to the current system, but there is no chance that it will achieve the goal of affordable comprehensive health care for all, irrespective of employment or income, that citizens of Canada, Britain, France, Germany and most other modern democracies enjoy as a basic r...

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Why Not Single Payer?
February 28, 2010

Times Argus We have more than enough evidence that a single-payer system is the most fiscally conservative way to cover all Americans, yet Congress has refused to consider it seriously. People are dying from lack of access, businesses are failing while trying to pay for benefits for their employees and the U.S. economy is straining due to rising costs consuming an increasing share of the budget. The majority of physicians want single payer and the majority of Americans want single payer. With a...

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Health Care Bill Faces Tough Road
January 29, 2010

Letter to the Editor (TA) It is now apparent that if any type of health care bill manages to come out of Congress, it will be so eviscerated that any attempt to call it reform would be ludicrous. Therefore it is imperative that Vermont takes the lead with its own healthcare reform in the form of "single payer" House Bill 100 and Senate Bill 88. Some of the obvious advantages of "single payer" for individuals are comprehensive coverage from birth to death, freedom to change ...

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Trying for a More Perfect Union
January 22, 2010

Times Argus The Wall Street debacle cost trillions in undisclosed arrangements over and above the bailout-TARP funds which caught the public eye. None of the government intervention has addressed the underlying issues hindering the economy. One wonders if the house of financial cards will collapse again tomorrow or the day after. Furthermore, how we are going to pay for all of this? This illustrates why I think it is so important we address the health care issue at the root. We are spending fa...

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Anything But Whining
January 20, 2010

Times Argus Having attended the public health care forum on Jan. 12 at the Statehouse, I couldn't disagree more with Hannah Vallerand's complaints concerning single-payer whiners. I did not testify at the hearing, but feel compelled to do so now. First of all, a significant number of persons who testified were professionals in the health care field, and with one possible exception, all were solidly in favor of strong health care reform. Secondly, the so-called "whiners" were largel...

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Affording Single Payer
January 08, 2010

Affording Single Payer (BFP) This is how we can afford single-payer health care: 1. The U.S. pays $8,160 per capita for health care, two times more than other industrialized countries. 2. Thirty percent of the money spent on health care goes to administration. We pay $350 billion per year to shuffle papers for multiple insurance companies. 3. Under a single-payer plan, the estimate for administration is 5 percent of total costs. We would save 25 percent to begin with. 4. Our businesses woul...

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Right Time to Take Up Health Care Reform
January 07, 2010

Right time to take up health care reform (BFP) I would like to respond to the Burlington Free Press editorial "Premature to take up health care in Vermont" in the Dec. 20 edition. The editorial said "that the push to reform the state's health care system is misguided and premature given the uncertainty of reform efforts in Washington that could upend anything Vermont tries to do on its own." This is wrong-headed. The Senate health reform bill seems little more than yet ano...

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Vermont Can Still Lead on Health Care
January 02, 2010

By Rep. Sandy Haas (The Prog Blog) In his December 16 St. Albans Messenger editorial, Emerson Lynn asserted that the Vermont legislature should not “waste time” talking about health care reform. That, of course, is the position of the 40 Republicans in the U.S. Senate, who voted to prevent debate a health insurance reform bill. Perhaps Mr. Lynn would also refuse to listen to the many, many constituents who stop me on the street to plead that we do something to reduce the crippling c...

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Keep Reform Focus on Single Payer Bills
December 06, 2009

Letters to the Editor (BFP) Keep reform focus on single-payer bills Rep. Paul Poirier is considering a bill that would require all Vermonters who are not covered by Medicare, Medicaid or other public programs to purchase private insurance. However, to call this proposal a "single-payer" proposal, or even to say that it might lead to a single-payer system, is misleading. It is true that Rep. Poirer is advocating rolling all state plans (Medicaid, VHAP, Dr. Dynasaur and Catamount) in...

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The Health Care Debate Continues
November 19, 2009

Letters: The health care debate continues Bennington Banner   As the health care debate has unfolded over the past few months, I have been listening to the various opinions put forth, pro and con. Some people think that health care should be a privilege, a commodity, remain tied to a job, and to make sure the insurance companies can have a tidy profit margin. I am not one of those. I think about the everyday people of our country. The widening dichotomy between those who have a lot and ...

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Lobbyists Hijack Process
November 14, 2009

(Times Argus) I am sick and tired of our political process being hijacked by the lobbyists. It affects the wars, our environment, our food and our health care. I am sorry that so many people can be bought. Single-payer is the only way to go. Almost everything else is a Band-Aid on a broken system. Carolyn J. Ridpath Montpelier  ...

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Single Payer is Logical Choice
November 11, 2009

Times Argus Single payer is logical choice In the next session of the Legislature, S.88, a "Single payer" health care bill, will have hearings in the Senate Health and Welfare committee, chaired by Doug Racine. (The House Health committee has a similar bill, H.100, but Chairman Steve Maier has refused to hold hearings so far.) Single payer would be the fairest and most efficient way to ensure that everyone enjoys quality, comprehensive, and affordable medical care from the cradle to ...

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Educate on Single Payer
October 26, 2009

Article published Oct 26, 2009 Rutland Herald Educate on single-payer   At a recent forum hosted by the Friends of the Ripton Church, physicians Jack Mayer of Middlebury and Jeff and Carrie Wulfman of Ripton, and Middlebury College professor Ellen Oxfeld stressed the urgent need for reforming American health care. Dr. Mayer summarized the essence of the issue: We must make a moral commitment to health care as a human right, and not a commercial commodity. When we and our elected repres...

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We all Need Medical Care
October 09, 2009

Letter published in the Times Argus on October 9, 2009:  I want to thank Louis Porter of the Vermont Press Bureau for his story "Slow Pace of health care reform sparks ire" about the health care as a human right forum held on Sept. 22 at the Montpelier High School. The article speaks for itself, about how Liz Zundel and I testified on our experiences within the current system to an audience of between 80 and a 100 people and a panel of legislators from around Washington County. ...

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Not happy with distortions of health care reform
October 09, 2009

Bennington BannerI have to object to the coordinated campaign to convince Vermonters that our health care reform law is some crazy radical idea being foisted on an unsuspecting public. For an idea that opponents consistently mischaracterize as "radical" and destructive of freedom, it certainly has some strong support from mainstream folks.Start with passage of the law. Do you really think your Vermont state senators and representatives are wild-eyed radicals? How about the League of Wo...

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Moving toward comprehensive care
October 09, 2009

Rutland HeraldIn his recent letter on health care reform, Shawn Shouldice neglects to specify that his concerns refer to the transitional “exchange” process, not the single-payer system being developed by the Green Mountain Care Board.As described by the GMC board at their open meeting on March 29, this simpler, more coordinated, incentive-driven approach expands the understanding of benefits beyond clinical care to look at a systemwide approach. This includes prevention and public e...

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New Healthcare Untested?
October 09, 2009

The Manchester JournalTo the Editor: You may not have seen it, but the folks at Vermonters for Health Care Freedom (VHCF) have made a pretty slick 8-minute video that they apparently sent to all our Vermont legislators.The crux is that our health care reform is too untested, too complicated, just beyond our abilities to institute. That's a pretty bizarre claim.Too untested? Really?Did VHCF simply miss the fact that the entire rest of the developed world has health care systems much closer to our...

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