Real repairs

March 05, 2015

 Times Argus

Rep. Don Turner, R-Milton, in his commentary “Toward health care repairs” (Feb. 20) offers no fix on our health care mess except to criticize what others have had the courage to try. This is easy. Unfortunately, he offers nothing in the way of fixing them except a vague promise and some snappy phrases.

Turner’s piece says that his party would offer “alternatives to bring some stability, protect patient rights and choices, offer greater access and improve affordability.” What are these patient choices in their view? How would they be similar to the universal choices available under Medicare, a government-run, publicly funded universal health care system? Or would they be?

Except for Medicare and its single-payer companions, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration health system, the choices available for those on private insurance were noted for their constant instability, rate increases, rationing thousands of Vermonters out of access to care with excessively high costs, and so on. As Medicare and every democratic nation with a publicly funded system (all of them except us) have shown, this is the real repair job we need.

Turner’s eight bills probably did not include two that are now under consideration in the Legislature. These are H.207 (House) and S.88 (Senate). Both bills want to make access to primary care universal for all Vermonters. In addition to this, they would accomplish two of Rep. Turner’s goals of “increased stability,” where no Vermonter would have to worry about losing it, and vastly expanded choices for patients who could access primary care of their choice without the barriers of high premiums and deductibles blocking their way.

If passed, these bills will bring “stability, certainty and affordability to Vermonters.”

Walter Carpenter