Wennberg's shifting story

May 11, 2012

Times Argus

Mr. Wennberg is telling a shifting story about health care.

Mr. Wennberg, in a response to my earlier letter, now seems to be backing away from advocating insurance outside of H.559, Vermont’s implementation of the exchange. This is good. I am glad he now says, “For the exchange to serve its purpose, the state needs to set the standards and approve all plans offered there.” I heartily agree. I hope we hear no more from him about insurance “outside of the exchange.”

He continues to wrongly claim the state is “clawing money into the Treasury.” Clearly he has not taken the time to understand the Affordable Care Act. The ACA money to insure low- and middle-income Vermonters is paid directly to the insurance companies. By law it cannot be paid to the Vermont state treasury. I would like to know the names of the state officials Mr. Wennberg implies said otherwise.

What will happen in 2017, when Green Mountain Care is up and running as Vermont is self-insuring Vermonters, providing a more efficient single pipeline for health care administration? It will be functioning as an “insurance company” and those low- and middle-income payments will be paid directly to Green Mountain Care. Vermont, to my knowledge, has not yet decided if that will be a special state agency/special insurance fund or the administration would be contracted to someone like Vermont Blue Cross. Most companies who self-insure contract administration to insurance companies. But yet again Mr. Wennberg is wrong; it will not go into the state General Fund.

I am skeptical of the motivations of his front organization, Vermonters for Health Care Freedom. It seems to me more aligned with promoting insurance company interests than the needs of Vermonters. He says he is protecting “hundreds of Vermont small businesses and health care providers from bullying.” Do we think that is true? I think most real Vermonters can stand up to any bully for themselves.

Does he consider me a bully? I’m just a retired guy in Bridport who does not like half-truths, spin, and people who will not tell me who they work for.

Bob Zeliff