Single payer criticism omits key points

February 28, 2014

Stowe Today
By: Jerry Kilcourse, Montpelier

In 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. Bauman

Some 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 $3 billion on premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses that will be replaced by single payer.

2. She tries to link Vermont Health Connect (Obamacare) to Green Mountain Care (single payer). While Vermont Health Connect has some needed reforms, such as the elimination of denials due to pre-existing conditions, it is still an overly expensive, convoluted insurance system that is in no way, shape or form comparable to Green Mountain Care. Also, there is no comparison between Act 48 health care funding and Act 60 public educational funding.

3. Scheuermann also doubts that Vermont can run a health care system, but ignores such successful state-run programs as the Vermont Health Access Program and Dr. Dynasaur.

4. No mention of portability: Green Mountain Care will cover all Vermonters — no one will suffer a gap in coverage (because they lost a job, changed jobs, were downsized, fired or quit) that many face now when enrolled in employer benefit plans.

Bruce Lisman, who with Scheuermann founded Campaign for Vermont, says he is for universal, affordable and accessible health care. However, it is one thing to give lip service to health care for all and another to actually come up with such a plan.