Moving ahead to health reform

April 09, 2013

Rutland Herald

Thanks to Mimi Morton for refuting John McClaughry’s attack on Vermont’s coming single-payer health care system.

Of course there will not be an easy transition from a system run for insurance company profit to one run for the benefit and improved health of all the people. Uncertainties and obstacles on the path are inevitable. One, unfortunately, is the health care exchange, which we must endure before progressing to single-payer.

The exchanges are entirely separate from single-payer. They are an ill-advised mandatory feature of the Affordable Care Act (“Obamacare”), proving again that we cannot solve our health care crisis without ending domination by private insurance companies.

While the state cannot avoid setting up the exchange, the Legislature and the governor have a moral obligation to protect lower-income residents from financial harm and loss of medical services in moving to it from VHAP and Catamount.

True health care freedom will come after the exchanges — we hope as early as 2017 — when Vermont inaugurates an all-inclusive single-payer system. Mr. McClaughry and the so-called Vermonters for Healthcare Freedom want to scare us away from affordable universal health care before it can take root.

We can’t let them divert us from the true goal.