Health care critic offers no alternatives

April 13, 2012

Burlington Free Press

I appreciated the contrast between your
two contributors on health care issues,
(Comment and Debate, April 3). Allan
Ramsay is a physician who has practiced
many years in Vermont, and who is now on
the Green Mountain Care Board. He gave
an insightful account of the difficulties he
experienced with a fee-for-service system
where reimbursements varied widely. He
then discussed in some detail two
attainable paths forward toward the goal of
reducing costs while improving quality of
care, in order to fulfill the commitment of
last year’s Act 48 to create universal
access to quality, affordable health care.

Jeff Wennberg, the new executive director
of “Vermonters for Health Care Freedom,”
did little but criticize the Legislature for
passing Act 48, while misrepresenting it
(surely on purpose) as a “Canadian-style”
system. I attended various “public policy
debates,” hearings with testimony from
citizens, and saw committees get lots of
input from those directly affected. I can’t
agree with his loaded descriptions of
“unbalanced debates,” “no conceptual
plan,” “absence of input.” My feeling is that
he simply is complaining because so many
Vermonters saw things differently from
himself.

He seemed oblivious to the mandate of the
bill when he made unsubstantiated
speculations that “probably” there will be
major cost increases for most, and less
access to care. He declared that there are
“numerous” options to single-payer that
contain costs and expand access, but
despite that being the title of his piece,
wrote only one sentence about them. His
main effort in this piece was to discredit
what the Legislature and the GMC Board
are now working on. He spoke of “slowing
down this train,” but it’s clear to me he only
wants to derail it.

PAULA SCHRAMM

Enosburg Falls