Miller, Lunge, and Costa: Fact matter when facing hard choices

January 11, 2015

 Vermont Digger: Editor’s note: This commentary is by Lawrence Miller, Robin Lunge and Michael Costa, chief, director and deputy director respectively of Health Care Reform for the Shumlin administration.

The decision to not move forward with a public financing system for health care in Vermont was an incredibly difficult one and it was not taken lightly. The charge that we essentially cooked the books for political purposes, is both absurd and insulting. There are many difficult tradeoffs in designing a new health care system that affect the lives of almost all Vermonters. It is neither fair nor borne out by serious scrutiny of our plan and the documents we released with it to say otherwise.

Some say that we could keep costs down by offering a less generous plan. This ignores the fact that the majority of Vermonters have health insurance that is equivalent to or better than our recommended plan. If you look at what most large, private employers offer today, 65 percent of Vermonters would have worse insurance if we had recommended a less generous plan. This percentage goes up if you include state employees and education employees and their families. To argue for a less generous plan would be to ask Vermonters to support taxes that would require some to pay more than they do now – while asking the majority of Vermonters to also swallow a benefit cut. Doing that would be unfair, impractical and divisive.

More importantly, choosing a lower benefit level – as shown in the plan and the documents we released – would actually be worse for Vermonters, as shown in the economic modeling. What a lower actuarial value level actually does is…Click Here to read the full article