September 18, 2012

The happy truths of single payer

Vermont Leads and Vermont for Single Payer have produced a brochure (click here to download) addressing frequently raised questions:

Green Mountain Care will provide health insurance for all Vermonters in 2017. The State of Vermont is currently researching a proposed benefit package and a plan for paying for Green Mountain Care. We fully expect these details to be public by January 2013 at the latest.

While this new system is being developed, opponents of health care reform have been spreading myths about single payer. Here’s THE STRAIGHT SCOOP:

MYTH: “Single payer will cost us more!”

The taxes for Green Mountain Care (Vermont Single Payer) will REPLACE private health insurance premiums and deductibles. With the increased efficiency of a single payer system, expect to pay less for health care.

MYTH: “Doctors will leave the state!”

Doctors say they will move to Vermont for a single-payer system. The list of doctors is growing.

MYTH: “Our healthcare coverage will get worse!”

Under Green Mountain Care (Vermont Single Payer) benefits will apply equally to every Vermonter. State law requires the benefit package of Green Mountain Care at a minimum to include primary and specialty care, mental health and substance abuse, hospitals and prescription drugs. Under Green Mountain Care everyone will be eligible for these broad benefits.

MYTH: “There will be delays to see our doctor.”

We experience delays now for many reasons: patients put off treatment because of high costs, insurance companies create roadblocks, and sometimes the resources just aren’t there. The efficiency of a single payer system will ensure that the money we have is spent on the care we need, and not on insurance company middlemen.

MYTH: “We won’t have free choice of doctor or hospital.”

Green Mountain Care (Vermont Single Payer) will provide free choice of doctor and hospital, unlike now when private insurers limit choice to suit themselves.

MYTH: “Government bureaucrats will stand between us and our doctors, preventing us from getting necessary care.”

Green Mountain Care (Vermont Single Payer) will remove insurance company bureaucrats now standing between us and our doctor. It is rare for enrollees in Vermont’s existing public health care programs like Dr. Dynasaur to be denied services. We expect this to be the case under Green Mountain Care as well.

MYTH: “Medicare will change.”

Basic Medicare will stay the same. Green Mountain Care (Vermont Single Payer) will add more benefits to Medicare. [Medicare, by the way, is a working example in the U.S. of single payer; it was meant to expand to include all, not just older, citizens. The VA system is a working example in the U.S. of socialized medicine.]

MYTH: “More private insurance companies mean lower costs.”

There is no evidence for this claim. More insurance competition does not result in lower health care costs for everyone. [Health care is not like a consumer commodity, because it is necessary and competition actually drives prices up.]

MYTH: “Under Single Payer care will be rationed!”

Green Mountain Care (Vermont Single Payer) will not be set up to ration care. It will use existing dollars more efficiently to ensure that every Vermonter gets necessary health care.

human rights, Vermont