Other countries do it

April 28, 2015

Times Argus: The recent Times Argus editorial “Health care fiasco” points out the multiple problems, both technical and political, of Vermont Health Connect, the state’s version of the federally mandated Affordable Care Act. At this point it is still a quagmire of a nonfunctioning, convoluted and overly expensive attempt to provide health care for Vermonters. The IT “experts” in this mess were contracted from the supposedly superior private sector and it is seemingly proving to be a boondoggle of sorts. It shouldn’t be this difficult.

A quick review of health care worldwide reveals that virtually every advanced country has a form of universal health care, including single payer, with better results at much less cost. For example, such countries spend about 8 percent of GDP on average while the U.S. spends around 17 percent of GDP, and climbing, for health care, and we still don’t have universal coverage. Moreover, these universal plans, including our own Medicare, were created and administrated 50 to 60 years ago with little more than adding machines. Maybe the Luddites had a point.

Instead of having a truly universal, affordable and accessible health care plan, our politicians have put the wishes of the special interests such as insurance and now IT industries first, no matter how inefficient and costly, with the needs of the U.S. citizens second. For example, one so-called liberal senator in particular from Connecticut was instrumental in defeating the “public option” that the insurance industry lobbied heavily against.

Even now if Vermont Health Connect worked perfectly, many still would not have easy access to health care due to high out-of-pocket expenses such as those in the silver and bronze insurance plans. As I said before, it should never have been this difficult.

Jerry Kilcourse