This commentary is by Peter Wilhelm, M.D., a family doctor at Middlebury Family Health, and a board member of Health First, Vermont’s independent practice association, representing health care practitioners working at physician-owned practices throughout the state.
As many recent contributors have pointed out, Vermonters have seen significant increases in health care costs in the last few years, not only in the “sticker price” for doctor’s visits, tests and procedures, but also dramatic increases in insurance premiums, co-payments and other out-of-pocket costs.
Per recent data from the Green Mountain Care Board, Vermont’s per capita price tag for health care has increased in recent years, and continued growth in health care costs is expected. Meanwhile, access to primary care has declined, and timely scheduling with medical specialists is under scrutiny by the Vermont Agency of Human Services, the Green Mountain Care Board, and the Department of Financial Regulation.
Vermont’s accountable care organization, OneCare Vermont, whose stated goals are “to improve the health of Vermonters and lower health care costs,” has not improved access, quality or cost in any significant way. Recent posts by Patrick Flood and Richard Slusky, among others, enumerate the many issues with OneCare, and I would encourage readers to review those posts.