You only asked half the health care question

December 27, 2012

Caledonian Record

To the Editor:

I really have to take issue with your recent editorial "A Funding Problem" (Dec. 12). You ask "What tax rates on personal and corporate income, capital gains, and net worth would be required to enable the Green Mountain Care Board to adequately cover the health care costs of up to 621,000 Vermont residents?" Since Green Mountain Care will replace the current health care system, not simply be appended to it, the real issue is how does current total cost compare to total cost under Green Mountain Care? You only asked half the question; the other half is "how much money that now goes to paying health care premiums, deductibles, co-pays, etc, would no longer have to be paid?"

How much are Vermonters now paying for that health care? According to best current estimates, a total of $5 billion per year is currently spent on health care for all Vermonters. That is up from $2.5 billion as recently as 2001.

How much in employer and employee health care premiums would no longer have to be paid? In the case of me and my husband, that's $10,500 per year in premiums, plus up to $4,000 out-of-pocket to meet our deductible. That's for only two of us. Multiply that saving across the entire state.

Your editorial also describes what seems to be a very spooky system of socialism: "Somebody needs to decide what your health needs are. Somebody must decide which of them are medically necessary. Somebody needs to extract the resources from taxpayers to pay health care providers to meet those needs. And Somebody must allocate those resources to those needs at payment levels established by that same Somebody."

Could you perhaps explain how this differs from the provision of any other government service which we accept as part of the norm in our everyday lives -- police departments, fire departments, public schools, the military (both state and federal)?

Lodiza LePore
Bennington, Vt