Sunday, April 6, 2014

As Vermont Goes, So Goes the Nation?

As Vermont goes, so goes Maine.

James A. Farley  (1888-1976), predicting correctly that Roosevelt would carry all but two states in 1936 Presidential election

As my readers know, I read every Sunday New York Times to see what the left is thinking on health reform.

This Sunday’s piece of the week is “As Vermont Goes, So Goes the Nation?” by Molly Worten, as assistant professor of history at the University of North Carolina.

She relates how Peter Sumlin, the Democratic governor, three years ago signed a bill creating Green Mountain Health Care, a single-payer system for Vermont.  The bill will regulate all doctors’ fees and will cover all 620,000 Vermonters.    

Its main supporter is the Vermont Progressive Party. It persuaded the Democratic-dominated legislature to back the bill in 2011.   Its creator is Harvard economist, William Hsaio, who wrote a 203 page report outlining the bill and who wrote a July 2011 article in Health  Affairs describing how other states could learn from Vermont’s “bold experiment.”

Hsaio’s report said single-payer would save Vermont 25% a year in health costs by reforming malpractice, putting health insurers out of business, boosting job growth, lowering health  and employer costs, and creating better, more efficient governance.   The $4.6 billion in savings would go to covering the uninsured and expanding benefits and services for everyone.    

Citing Canada’s experience with its single-payer system,  Ms. Wothen says skeptics would become believers. “If the present Vermont experience works, other states will follow. American pragmatism will trump ideology.”

As the late Senator Ted Kennedy proclaimed in his 1980 address at the Democratic national convention, “ For all those who causes have been our concern, the work goes on, the cause endures, the hope still lives, and the dream lives on.”

In Vermont, the dream will be put to an experimental  test.  And so it should.   Every state should be allowed to pursue its dream, implement its policies, and exercise the rights of its citizens. Then we shall see if the other 49 states follow.

Tweet: Vermont is in the midst of implementing a single-payer state-wide health system. It believes it will save money and preserve its safety net.

No comments: