Letters 1 – 21 – 2011

Quote of the week:

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How we pay for this system is what we should worry about last…. Once we have that mechanism in place, then let’s worry about how we pay for it.– Gov. Peter Shumlin

Like Nancy Pelosi’s “We have to pass the bill to find out what’s in it,” I guess we’ll have to pass this bill to find out how we’ll pay for it! Yikes.

Pass tort reform first

Thanks for the link to the “Hsiao Report” on health care reform. Many good points raised in your articles.

The report has a lengthy discussion of medical malpractice reform, actually suggesting this may be a “necessary precursor” to other steps proposed (p. 53). Why not enact tort reform first and realize a 2-9% cost reduction from that alone?

— J.P.

Heath care reform should ban assisted suicide

I am troubled that our new governor wants Vermont to show the rest of the nation how to control health care costs (speech at Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce, January 2011), but also wants Vermont’s legislature to be the nation’s first to legalize giving lethal pills to patients. I cannot say with certainty if these two “Vermont leads the way” health care initiatives are connected. But as a former HMO health insurance sales rep, I know that end-of-life care costs insurance companies plenty, and that their “cost control” would improve if society’s very sick people begin to die prematurely by overdose of barbituates.

It is up to our governor and the legislators pushing this bill to convince me and many other concerned Vermonters that health care reform will forbid legalized assisted suicide. If they cannot, we will dig in our heels and bring the message of “no death panels in Vermont” to our statehouse. At least two Oregon people were denied life-extending care they wanted but were still offered coverage for death pills they didn’t want (ABC Nightly News story, June 2008). That is an appalling breach of trust. The “death with dignity” folks in Oregon said it could never happen there, and they were wrong, and it is their money funding the lobbyists etc. for the Vermont campaign.

The bottom line is that we can’t let vulnerable Vermonters become victims of the bottom line.

— Heather Sheppard

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