Taxes instead of premiums

September 16, 2013


The headline of your Sept. 5 article states, “Shumlin to rely on payroll tax hikes” to fund single payer. However, this headline would be equally accurate if it stated, “Gov. Shumlin to implement the largest single premium decrease in U.S. history.” Indeed, as the article itself makes clear, taxes to fund a health care system for all Vermonters (single payer) will replace and not add to premiums, and thus they will not constitute a hike in payments for health care at all.

Further, by replacing private premiums with public financing, we will get much more than we ever could under the current system. Let’s not forget that single payer means guaranteed health care for all Vermonters regardless of employment status. It means no more worries about going bankrupt due to high out-of-pocket costs that even the insured often face. Single payer also means greater simplicity for employers, who will no longer have to waste precious time overseeing the complex paperwork of private health care plans, as well as for providers, who will no longer have to bill many different private plans.

Our current system of patchwork coverage and fragmented financing is expensive, and despite this, we still do not have universal access to health care. Single payer means financing a health care infrastructure in a streamlined way. And it means health care will be there for all of us when we need it. That is why Gov. Shumlin is on the right track in his commitment to implementing a publicly funded health care system for all Vermonters by 2017.

Ellen Oxfeld