$1.23 million a year for what?

by Rob Roper

We don’t yet know who the five member panel that will determine every facet of our health care will be, or what sort of system they’ll come up with, but we do know what they’ll make. Each will earn over $100,000 and the chair of the panel will earn $160,000.

The Joint Fiscal Office released its fiscal impact analysis regarding H.202, and the tally for the taxpayers is $1,210,910 for the fiscal year 1012. Most of this will go toward salaries and support for the Board. And what do we get for this? The bill…

… creates the Green Mountain Care Board that will develop benefit plans, manage Green Mountain Care health coverage, and set uniform payment rates across health care professionals. The Green Mountain Care Board is also charged with identifying and developing payment reform initiatives to change the way health care is paid for and to achieve system-wide savings.

Didn’t we just pay Dr. William Hsiao $300,000 to do this?

At a time when the state is facing a $176,000,000 budget deficit that is getting bigger rather than smaller, throwing $1.2 million at a program that no one has any idea how it will work, how much it will cost, how it will be paid for, or even if we will get the waivers necessary to make it happen seems like a move about as sophisticated and desperate as buying a lottery ticket.

We don’t know what’s on the other side of the silvery scratch off stuff covering H.202, but let’s plunk our $1.2 million down on the counter to find out. Maybe we’ll get lucky.

Our odds of a winning ticket? Based on the history of other states experiments (TennCare, Dirigo Health, Massachusetts, the failing Canadian and European systems and our own Catamount Health) we’d have better odds of hitting the PowerBall. And then, we wouldn’t even have to wait until 2017 to find out if we’ve won.