McClaughry has it wrong

January 23, 2015

Valley News:

To the Editor:
John McClaughry’s Jan. 6 column (“Single-Payer Has Failed in Vermont — So What Next?”) was incorrect on the death of single-payer in Vermont. It is on hold; it is not deceased. While Mr. McClaughry did acknowledge this, the crying need for it is not going away. Mr. McClaughry suggests that the state government “invite some experts in who really understand how health care works.” One of his “experts” is “Regina Herzlinger of Harvard Business School, whose three books on consumer-driven health care have shaped a whole new field of health policy thinking.” I am mystified about what “consumer-driven health care” means, but a state of Vermont survey in 2012 shows some of what health care treated as a consumer commodity did back before the days of the Affordable Care Act: “One out of every 20 working adults is uninsured. This translates to about 42,760 Vermonters, or about 6.8 percent of the state’s population.”
Families USA found that 154 Vermonters died between 2005-2010 for lack of access to affordable health care. Health care for all Vermonters will never work as a consumer product. It has to be a public good in a single-payer-type system. Only then will health care be there for all of us without fear of high deductibles or the debt collector.
Walter Carpenter
Montpelier