No "shenanigans" in health care reform

May 07, 2012

Burlington Free Press

In her recent opinion piece on health care (“On health matters: watch the shenanigans,” May 1), Rep. Heidi Scheuermann uses terms such as “shifty” and “shenanigans” to characterize the work of our Legislature regarding health care legislation this session. Her main complaint is that while the Catamount program has been eliminated, the Employer Assessment that paid for it (assessed on those employers who do not cover their own employees) continues.

In fact, the Employer Assessment was never intended to fund Catamount Health alone. It also pays for needed programs, some of which started during the Douglas administration, such as the Blueprint for Health, as well as an immunization program (certainly necessary for public health).

Act 48, which passed last year, further requires the Legislature to examine whether the employer assessment should continue in the next legislative session. As a Vermont citizen I expect that this examination next session, as well as the discussion of the entire financing package for Green Mountain Care, which will ultimately replace private premiums, will be an open and transparent process with plenty of opportunity for all of us to weigh in. I don’t see any “shenanigans” here.

ELLEN OXFELD
Middlebury