Critics are ignoring broken health system

August 21, 2014

Stowe Reporter

The commentary by state Reps. Patti Komline and Heidi Scheuermann, “Health care must work for all Vermonters” (Stowe Reporter, Aug. 14), predictably has taken the Shumlin administration to task concerning the health exchange rollout and its IT problems.

Also predictably, they think the solution for universal/affordable health care is more health insurance companies and less regulation, despite decades of evidence to the contrary.

Just to recap such negative evidence, the U.S. model for health care based on insurance is the most expensive, with poorer results than virtually all economically advanced countries (Source, CIA World Factbook).

They also take a swipe at the Vermont-run single-payer health care plan, Green Mountain Care, due in 2017, mainly because of a projected $2.2 billion cost. However, they conveniently omit the fact that it will replace the $2.6 billion-plus we now spend on premiums and other out-of-pocket expenses — with a system that fails at universal coverage. The $2.6 billion figure was as of 2011 and is certainly higher in 2014. Komline/Scheuermann also say single-payer won’t provide the universal and accessible results they claim to want, but don’t say why.

This is in spite of the success of Medicare, our closest thing to single-payer health care. Have any Medicare recipients had such problems enrolling when they turn 65?

We need a simplified, universal system that is funded by a person’s ability to pay, such as Green Mountain Care’s single-payer. Those who try to equate the overly complicated, expensive and obviously IT-unfriendly Affordable Care Act insurance-based exchanges with Green Mountain Care are mainly doing it out of political self-interest and/or have vested interests in insurance-based health care.

Jerry Kilcourse