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. Reporting the recommendation in January 2013 gives us time to look it over and vet it publicly. This is what all Vermonters throughout the state have been asking for. People who already support single payer want to be ready if proceeding becomes possible. People who are reluctant about single payer have been clamoring to know how it would be financed, but have also complained about other bills that were passed in the same session in which they were introduced, as being ramrodded through the legislature and forced down their throats. So opponents have wanted the information to know how it could be financed, but don’t want the decision forced on them too quickly.

Bringing up the money spent on the federally-required exchanges is only confusing the issue. The exchanges are not single payer.

Vermonters know there is no such thing as a free lunch. We know taxes will have to go up if we aren’t paying premiums and out-of-pocket expenses. But like so many other Vermonters, I will be happy to know that my taxes will be ensuring care is available to all Vermonters without risking medical bankruptcy, instead of paying for staff to deny claims, for marketing, for overpriced medications, and for exorbitant CEO salaries for insurance and pharmaceutical companies.

Betty Keller, MD
St. Johnsbury