Vermont Applauded for Its Medicare-like Move

January 09, 2011

Boston Globe

I APPLAUD The Globe for showcasing Vermont’s single-payer “laboratory’’ in its Jan. 2 editorial “Vermont: Creating a singular health system.’’ As a third-year medical student at Cambridge Health Alliance, I’ve found that it doesn’t take long to see that the current system is insufficient.

The shortcomings leave patients whom I follow longitudinally with less access to community health centers, substance abuse treatment, and specialty services and testing. Some patients with private insurance have medication bills so weighty that they choose other necessities over pills. A single-payer system would establish a government-run, publicly funded insurance program with privately delivered services that cover all necessary care for everyone.

By implementing a single-payer approach, Vermont would lead the nation toward a cost-effective system to eliminate health care-based inequalities. Though the Globe says doctors have been “wary’’ of single payer, a recent Massachusetts Medical Society survey of doctors in the state showed that more preferred single payer than the current public-private mix. Further, a national survey published in the Annals of Internal Medicine in 2008 showed that 59 percent of physicians support government action to establish national health insurance.Physicians and medical students are no longer wary bystanders. We are advocates for Medicare for all.

Simeon Kimmel
Jamaica Plain