But beyond the greater cost-savings, we believe that Option 3 is the most feasible because it is likely to be accepted by the broadest cross-section of stakeholders in Vermont. Through discussions with more than 100 stakeholders we gained a critical understanding of what various competing interests would tolerate, their issues, concerns and hopes, where they disagreed and where they landed on common ground. Political opposition to single payer systems is often rooted in concerns over transparency and accountability. We designed Option 3 to address those issues and to operate with the express input of a broad base of stakeholders. In sum, we believe that Option 3 provides benefits to patients, providers and the system at large, in keeping with both the equity, coverage and sustainability goals of Act 128.
MORE ON VERMONT:
From: Rachel DeGolia, UHCAN
Once again, Vermont is proving to be a national leader in health care reform. And, this time, it looks like they will create an entirely new health care system – a modified single payer system – that will provide “affordable, universal health care” for all Vermonters.
The whole country has a stake in their success in Vermont. If one state can make real progress on comprehensive health reform, that will help all of us no matter where we are in the struggle in our own states.
The process, in a nutshell
Right now, legislators and advocates in Vermont are digesting the long-anticipated very dense “Health System Reform Design” draft report that Harvard economist Dr. William Hsiao issued on January 19th. Of the three options Dr. Hsaio studied, he is urging the state to adopt a “modified single payer.” There is key political support for a single payer approach – the new Governor, Peter Shumlin, many legislative leaders, and the entire congressional delegation, in addition to or, perhaps, as a result of (!) the tremendous grassroots movement that has been built over many years by health care advocacy groups in the state.
After Hsaio’s final report is issued in mid-February, the legislators will have to get to work on crafting the actual legislation, a process that is expected to take until the end of the session in May. The report provides a framework, but many details have to be worked out. A guide developed by the Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign (run by the Vermont Workers Center) provides a means to assess how well any reform bill meets the principles of the Campaign: universality, equity, transparency, accountability and participation. See the “Detailed human Rights Standards for Healthcare Systems” here: http://r20.rs6.net/tn.jsp?llr=z858oyn6&et=1104304600328&s=5376&e=001uWaZGT4CgP4Kj9kewe7EpoAiEq-Pc_zYZezn3HKlAFgyaNq-z74sg5hzlDRo3i-_bKko0ShsfrkLIt1tKLMAxKQEVLnzQGMpaR8SYnKd5hfX_Z64djrE3mGlydnvshdqGB-aIY-nndc=.
In Congress, Vermont’s Senators Sanders and Leahy, and Rep. Welch, will soon introduce the “State Leadership in Healthcare Act,” a bill to move up the date from 2017 to 2014 when “state innovation” is allowed under the Affordable Care Act (ACA), thus allowing Vermont to move forward with a single payer system. Careful consideration is being given to this step due to concerns about what states other than Vermont might do with the authority to waive provisions of the ACA.
The opposition has not materialized quite yet, but everyone knows that the lobbyists for the insurance companies and others invested in maintaining the status quo – or twisting the reform for their own profit – will be pouring into the state very soon. Our colleagues in Vermont need and deserve our support!
Grassroots health care justice groups are hard at work organizing key constituencies across the state. All the groups listed below have up-to-date information on the status of the campaign and links to the latest news coverage.
SEND DONATIONS to help pay for more organizers to Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign, www.workerscenter.org
Contact James Haslam, Executive Director, Vermont Workers’ Center, firstname.lastname@example.org or 802/861-4892 to:
· HOST A HOUSE PARTY and have a Campaign Organizer join you via Skype
· Go to Vermont and VOLUNTEER in person for the campaign in the next few months
Other organizations in the lead:
Vermont Citizens Campaign for Health, www.universalhealthvt.org
Contact: Richard Davis, RN, Executive Director email@example.com or 802/251-0195
Vermont for Single Payer, a project of Vermont Health Care for All, the local affiliate of Physicians for a National Health Program, especially focused on mobilizing health providers, www.vermontforsinglepayer.org
Contact: Deb Richter, MD, Executive Director firstname.lastname@example.org or 802/595-2820