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Economists Throw Weight Behind Universal Health Care in Vermont


Economists Throw Weight Behind Universal Health Care in Vermont

Deirdre Fulton, staff writer

It is not only possible, but financially and economically advantageous to implement a publicly financed healthcare system in Vermont, according to an open letter signed by more than 100 economists and delivered Thursday to lawmakers at the Vermont State House.


The Vermont system is in no way a Single-payer system. It has so many carve out and exemptions that it must fairly be called Multi-payer with a public option for those who don’t qualify for anything else. As such it looses most of its economic advantages of cutting through self serving layers of bur eaucracies both public and private to more efficiently adminster health care and it’s moral authority to administer one high level of care for all. Our federal government under Obamacare makes it impossible to create a a true state level single-payer system. That is where things truly stand. It is still a federal battle. Better to fight for it there.


This article, and the letter from Baker et al., continues the promulgation of misinformation that characterizes Green Mountain Care as “single payer.” It is not. Early in that legislation’s history, long before Shumlin withdrew his support, all mention of single payer and universal healthcare was removed from the text of the bill.

Green Mountain Care sought to expand insurance coverage, through multi-tiered insurance plans, by…eventually… including some publicly financed machinations. Shumlin himself referred to Green Mountain Care, just last September, as a “payer of last resort.” That’s not single payer. Under Green Mountain Care, patients would continue to be subjected to co-payments and deductibles that obstruct access to healthcare. That’s not single payer. Green Mountain Care would continue the role of the for-profit private insurance industry in Vermont that rations healthcare based on economic class, (affordability). That’s not single payer.

Would Green Mountain Care, if it could survive the federal scrutiny mandated in ObamaCare®, provide some much needed relief for health insurance consumers in Vermont? Obviously. Could progressive taxation be utilized to expand access to affordable health insurance coverage in Vermont…without incentivizing Vermont’s healthcare providers to continue to cherry-pic profitable patients and services? Maybe.

Green Mountain Care was a laudable effort to expand access to health insurance in Vermont by utilizing some progressive taxation. But it’s not single payer. Healthcare rights advocates, journalists, and economists who willfully ignore facts, do the Single Payer movement a grave disservice by failing to differentiate health insurance reformism from the change required to ensure that healthcare as a human right is codified into law: national Single Payer Healthcare. HR 676.


And THAT was deliberate of course and why not a single representative of Single Payer was given a seat at the table that led to Obamacare.


You can pretty well bet that a representative from every single major health insurance provider had a seat at that table!