Shumlin right on health plan

February 27, 2013

Rutland Herald

The Shumlin administration made the right call in not advancing a detailed single-payer financing plan at this time.

If Jeff Wennberg and his Vermonters for Health Care Freedom would bother to actually read the UMass study, the last few pages give them the reason why — we don’t yet have the information necessary to prepare a menu of intelligent policy choices. Chief among that information is a clear and statistically reliable profile of the existing private health insurance financing system.

What are employers paying in premiums? What is that as a percentage of their payroll? Are those payments flat or graduated? Do large employers cross-subsidize small employers? How many employers do not provide coverage at all? What percentage of total payroll do they account for?

And how much of a bite out of household incomes are individual premium contributions taking? Are household premiums progressive, flat, or regressive? How do deductibles and co-pays factor in?

It makes little sense for Mr. Wennberg or anyone else to speculate now about a 10 to 12 percent payroll tax when we don’t know whether that is more or less than what businesses and households are and will be paying in premiums.