Cutting Out the Middleman

February 20, 2012

Rutland Herald

The 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 have no health insurance, or have policies with co-pays and deductibles so high they cannot afford to see a physician. This is the “system” the ad seeks to protect.

Single payer will not mean spending an additional $5 billion, as the ad implies; it means spending the same $5 billion differently so that there will no longer be Vermonters without health care, or going bankrupt trying to pay for health care. Yes, that money will be raised through taxes, but this will replace today’s outrageous insurance premiums, co-pays and deductibles. Single payer will eliminate useless middlemen, private insurance companies wasting huge sums on paper work, lobbying and marketing, and garnering huge profits, while contributing nothing to the actual delivery of health care from providers to patients.

Politicians in Montpelier are not concealing the numbers. It will take about a year to come up with an equitable financing package, with public input. This will ensure that our money will go for health care for all Vermonters, not for gains of insurance company middlemen.