Shumlin administration gears up for the nitty-gritty of single payer
by Andrew Stein | July 29, 2013
See more at: http://vtdigger.org/2013/07/29/shumlin-administration-gearing-up-for-the-nitty-gritty-of-single-payer/#comment-65211
This article brought a lot of people out of the woodwork which shows how controversial the topic is. Below is one of the comments Bob Orleck posted on the matter: He and dozens of others made other comments in the comment section of the article.
“Lot of opinions here not backed up with facts, but what we need is to look at some hard truth.
Act 48 (Green Mountain Care Law) passed in 2011 and signed by Governor Shumlin in part gives the Green Mountain Care Board the job of setting rates charged by healthcare providers and under the law they maintain perpetual jurisdiction of such matters. Not only does this involve payments to be made that are covered by the government but also involves charges by healthcare providers to people paying out of their own pocket. Representative Browning (Democrat from Arlington), having done her homework realized this and offered an amendment to the health care bill HB 107 that would have fixed that which Act 48 allowed and would have allowed physicians in a private market to set their own rates and provide them to private paying patients at those rates. Our liberal legislature destroyed her attempt to put some freedom and sanity into the health care law and soundly defeated her amendment.
So what does this mean for a patient facing a medical problem requiring a procedure provided by a Vermont healthcare professional? If the procedure is considered not covered, can a patient with his own money go forward with the physician to do the uncovered procedure and pay for it himself? I know that might sound like a silly question to ask in a free land, but this is Vermont, land of lets do it first, let’s make it outrageous, let’s make it unconstitutional (we have our people in the right places) and let’s do it even if we have no idea how we are going to fund whatever we do.
I had a conversation with my House of Representative member, Larry Townsend, about the defeated Browning amendment to H. 107, health insurance, Medicaid and VHBE. I suggested to him that the amendment would have prevented what some us fear, and more should fear, and that an unelected board could end the private practice of medicine. With H48 being able to control what a physician charges for his procedures it could well mean that the private practice of medicine was a thing of the past. When I asked Mr. Townsend if that was so he responded, “In my opinion that is EXACTLY what is happening and I feel helpless to stop it!” Private physicians might not be willing to do the procedure at the price allowed and thus such procedures will become unavailable. And what happens if it is determined to be an unapproved procedure (no reimbursement), cosmetic or not, it seems that a Vermonter could not get the treatment even if he is going to entirely pay for it.
As I age, I am developing a very insecure feeling about my ability to stay in Vermont, stay healthy and stay alive because of what is happening under the gold dome in Montpelier. What are they not telling us? The option offered by the legislature for a lethal dose of medicine may be the only option that a person with a terminal diagnosis may be entitled to under the law. That is coming. A non-terminal person might also be denied the ability to get a particular treatment if it is not approved by the board even if they are willing to pay 100% of it with their own money. That is coming. I even wonder if they will allow us to leave the state borders to get the care. When will the barbed wire fences be put up to keep us in where they can take care of us?
Such decisions will be made for you and your loved ones, whether conservative Republicans or liberal Democrats. There may be some who know the direction all of this is going but I doubt if it is more than a small percentage of the population. We all need to ask some hard questions and get some real answers.”
Then there were some responses to what Bob Orleck wrote. There was the probably sincere but misguided person who wrote in response to:
“Why is there ZERO info on how VT residents will be treated across state lines? Why is there ZERO info on who will be administering this? Why is there zero info in general.”
“Probably because the Shumlin Administration is setting this up. What makes you think that these questions and more will not be answered? Vermont can do it alone. It will lead the way and then it will no longer be alone.”
To which Bob Orleck replied:
“Walter, when three years have gone by and there is no plan revealed how to pay for it, how can you just trust that they are working on it? Why can’t we see what their best thinking is on that? Show us something! Could it be that even the Governor has no idea but is stuck on the same lie that others are stuck on and can’t get away from and that is that government can do it and can do it better than private industry. He will back away from this after he has drained all the political advantage he can get from it and then he will blame others for its failure.
The reason Vermont is going it alone is because it is wrong headed. My daughter taught me a lesson about restaurants once. Look to see if there are a lot of cars around and are busy and if that is so the food will probably be good and if not the food probably is not so good. I have found that to be a good test and applies here as well. The reason Vermont has no others joining them around the table is because what they are trying to feed us is bad food.”
Then there was another:
Wow, you want to see opinions lacking factual basis, read your post.
“but this is Vermont, land of lets do it first, let’s make it outrageous, let’s make it unconstitutional”
Provide any evidence that the law you discussed is unconstitutional. I mean an actual court ruling, not baseless guesses you or some right wing ideologue made.
“As I age, I am developing a very insecure feeling about my ability to stay in Vermont, stay healthy and stay alive”
Your baseless opinions not withstanding, Vermont is the healthiest state in the nation.
” The option offered by the legislature for a lethal dose of medicine may be the only option that a person with a terminal diagnosis may be entitled to under the law.”
Other than your hysterical fear mongering, do you have even the tiniest shred of evidence to back this up?
To which Bob Orleck replied:
“Michael: Your reply reminds me of someone objecting to having been called “old and ugly” by saying “I am not old”. So while you think what is being done is constitutional you recognize Vermont is doing it first and its outrageous. And my friend, there are many unconstitutional actions by government that either have not yet been ruled so or have been allowed by activist wrong minded judges who like you and me are not perfect and make mistakes. On the health issue you need to address what I said on Act 48 which you ignored which is a threat to my and your health. Finally your objection about my statement that a lethal dose of medicine being the only option for a person with a terminal diagnosis, you only need to review letters sent to such patients in Oregon that did in fact deny coverage for their treatment but as an alternative offered them physician assisted suicide. No, not fear mongering, but good healthy realization that Vermont’s train is off the track and all of us are going to be injured in the wreck to come.”