A Way Forward in Health Care Reform

March 11, 2017

Vermont  Standard

Guaranteed 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’s insurance policies have deductibles or co-pays which frequently stop people from getting care for “small problems.” These types of “small problems,” if untreated early, can balloon into serious need for further and more expensive care.

Furthermore, today’s primary care health providers are burdened with complicated administrative billing issues, and many in private practice are leaving the field and the state. If we had universal access in a capitated system (reducing administrative billing time which wastes providers’ time), we would attract many young providers. Health care providers all see the tremendous advantage of getting involved in questions and problems people would like answers to early in their concern.

Simply put: Access to free primary care would reduce costs for specialists and hospitalization; reduce lost time on jobs and taking care of children and elders when more serious problems arise; and would definitely improve the quality of life for many of our citizens who could freely ask questions about the “small problems” when they are first worrisome.

Many organizations, including business groups are advocating passage of these bills. We are pleased our two Senators, Dick McCormack and Alison Clarkson, are sponsors of this legislation, as are Reps. Kevin Christie, Sue Buckholz and Gabrielle Lucke (who is supportive but was not around to sponsor). Please help them get these bills passed by writing to your representatives in Montpelier.

Ann Raynolds Pomfret Board member, VT Health Care For All