People confused about health care reform

October 18, 2013

Burlington Free Press

Many people commenting on Vermont's health care reform have confused the federal Affordable Care Act (ACA) and our state's universal health care plan that has yet to be implemented. It is important that Vermonters understand that these are two different programs, based on two very different approaches to health care and health care financing.

The ACA takes effect in 2014. The recently opened "exchange" is a requirement of the ACA, which employs insurance as the device to pay for our health care. The ACA does not cover everyone.

Vermont has already enacted -- but not yet implemented -- a universal health care plan. It is scheduled to take effect in 2017. It does not use insurance as a device to pay for health care costs; instead it is publicly funded and, best of all, it covers everyone.
Any confusion between these two very different programs is likely to be used by opponents of universal health care to sow discontent in the period between implementation of the ACA in 2014 and implementation of universal health care in 2017.