Supporting Single Payer

March 26, 2011

WCAX
March 26, 2011 - Montpelier, Vermont

Advocates of a single payer health care system in Vermont rallied at the state house Saturday. It came following the passage of a single payer bill in the House this week.

It had the feel of a labor rally, and in fact many of the advocates of single payer work in health care or attend medical school.

"What is unique and important about your presence here today is that you are saying I want to be the best doctor that I can be, but I can't be that unless we change the system," said Senator Bernie Sanders.

When it comes to single payer, the devil is in the details. For instance, Governor Shumlin has put off any discussion of how to pay for single payer -- which taxes to raise -- and what to do about unions, which have negotiated generally pretty good benefits for themselves.

Many advocates say they're not concerned about losing income in the medical profession under single payer.

"Having a single payer being able to control payments in a way. They're able to negotiate prices down and overall create a cheaper health care system for all," said Stanton Shek of the Dartmouth Medical School. When asked if he is to work for less money, Shek Replied, "Yes, although it's not about less money. A doctor's main concern is for patients."

"I want to be able to care for everyone. Right now people are not coming in. Their deductibles are too high or they don't have insurance. And they're not getting the care they need," said Primary Care Doctor Peggy Carey. When asked if she was willing to work for less money, Carey replied, "absolutely."

Supporters of single payer say that's the way it's supposed to be -- the patient comes first. That's the ideal at work here.

Andy Potter - WCAX News