Support Vermont's Health Care Reform

March 13, 2011

Burlington Free Press

Since 1993 the League of Women Voters of the US has had an advocacy position calling for a national health insurance plan financed through general taxes. Until that happens, the LWV of Vermont believes a state program can and should provide such health care to the residents of Vermont.

Based on a two-year study, the LWVVT supports a publicly-funded, single-payer comprehensive, universal, equitable health care system. There should be increased access to primary care facilities using community-based health centers.

Professional personnel should be attracted to Vermont by forgiveness of tuition loans for new physicians, dentists and nurses practicing in underserved areas of the state. There should be a greater use of nurse practitioners and physician's assistants.

All medically necessary services should be covered including preventive, psychiatric, chronic, dental, home care and care by other licensed professionals.

Costs can be controlled using a single-payer system to sharply cut administrative costs, along with efficiencies provided through information technology. Prices can be negotiated for pharmaceutical products. Emphasis can be put on preventive care including school based programs and the use of advertising of the kind that was very successful in reducing the use of tobacco.

The oversight of a state health care system should be independent of government. Oversight board membership should include representatives of all stakeholders, balanced demographically and geographically.

House Bill 202, now being debated by the Legislature, incorporates most of the provisions the league supports and is a big step in the right direction. Please ask your legislators to support this bill and implement a health care system that will be a model for the rest of the country. Surely the time for that has come.

South Ryegate

Sortino is on the Health Care Committee of the League of Women Voters of Vermont.