Letters 12 – 21 – 2011

“Gambles” means “choices”  

Per your report:_House Speaker/VPIRG host healthcare forum in Morrisville, I read this statement several times, and I have to wonder based the actions of this legislature if ‘gamble’ isn’t Shap-speak for ‘choices’.

‘Speaker Smith opened the evening with these remarks, “We have a system that creates a lot of incentives to gamble [choose], and when it goes wrong, it’s not a good thing. I would like to see a system that deemphasizes people’s ability to take those gambles [make those choices].”

These remarks remind me of some song lyrics: “you were blessed with such finesse, I almost know what you mean” But if Smith really means gamble, then he is right, the current system does create incentives to gamble (for the legislature and administration) because Vermonters have been left with so few choices due to past and present legislative actions. The most egregious gamble of all was the passage of ‘Green Mountain Care’. They gambled the lives of hundreds of thousands of insured Vermonters on legislation with a nebulous outcome.

They did not lower, but increased, the odds against a successful healthcare outcome in the State of Vermont. We have three major insurance companies left, and as far as doctors, the choices remaining are getting slimmer by the minute. So when you need a doctor right away, what are the odds of getting a good one? What are the odds of getting a timely appointment when few doctors see more patients? Those odds are not improving.

Since most Vermonters are insured, I believe that a person of average intelligence would likely do some research to make informed choices, statistically reducing their odds of making wrong choices, but that is not what the legislature has concluded. They have concluded that it this just too tough for the average citizen, and a few political appointees can do it better.

A legislature with confidence in the abilities of its citizens would encourage learning and personal choice. The legislature could easily do this by running a campaign of Public Service Announcements that incorporate suggestions and tips on how to choose a doctor, hospital, or lab. PSAs could teach effective ways to communicate with your health care professional.

PSAs could explain how pharmacies purchase medications or the price and quality of generic versus name brand; a PSA could educate the public about how a low deductible and $2 co-pay increases the price of premiums. There are innumerable opportunities to educate, and a legislature and an administration with confidence in its citizens would provide the public with education and tips about how to save money and get the best value for their dollars, but they didn’t. Instead they opted to bet billions.

Then again, maybe Smith was talking about the financial gamble of Vermonters who are uninsured because of personal financial choice or hardship such as unemployment or low income; if so, the rules could be fine tuned to keep Vermonters continuously insured. Decoupling insurance from employment, supplementing premiums on a sliding scale basis, and providing incentives worth taking to remain continuously insured would be a show of confidence in the abilities of Vermonters to manage their own affairs. Beneficiaries of this assistance should also receive education about health care spending, attention to price and quality, and how to get the best value for their dollars, and they might even come to understand when it is brought to light how current laws drive up the cost of health care products and services. That would surely be a safer bet than the one this legislature made with Vermonters money: Green Mountain Care.

Tom Salmon’s initiative, “Accountable to You, Accountable to Me”, is a step in the right direction and indicates a faith in the people of Vermont to rise to meet the challenges that are before them. I would like to see Auditor Salmon initiate an informational campaign to educate Vermonters how to use the system we have now to our best advantage while the legislature works to incorporate small changes that could have a big impact on improvement in the delivery of health care.

As for Smith and his cronies in the legislature, I wish I could say they “were blessed with such finesse, I almost know what they mean”, but I can’t. They do a good job believing they almost know what they mean on their own. Green Mountain Care legislation is proof of that.

– Estella Leach


Meetings are really brainwashing

These meetings would just be the theater of the Absurd, if they were not so Evil. Brain-washing. Trying to gain the “sanction of the victim” for the punishments to be meted out. Ultimate life and death Power Grab.

– Doug Richmond (via the website)


Events & Notes

Health Care Listening Sessions – The Agency of Administration is hosting four listening sessions across Vermont to help inform the design of future health care reform financing plans. These sessions will include presentations on the challenges facing Vermont’s health care system, how health care is financed currently in Vermont, and an overview of Vermont’s revenue system. The general public is encouraged to attend.

November 29: Marlboro College Tech Center, 28 Vernon Street, Brattleboro, 7:00 p.m.-9:00p.m

December 13: Fox Room at the Rutland Free Library, Rutland, 10 Court Street, 6:00 p.m.-8:00p.m

December 14: Diamond Ball Room, Sheraton, South Burlington, 6:00 p.m.- 8:00 p.m.

TBA: Northeast Kingdom, location to be determined, 7:00 p.m. – 9:00 p.m.

Contact: Please contact Michael Costa, Special Counsel, Vermont Department of Taxes at (802) 828-0141 or Michael.Costa@state.vt.us.

Now – December 21: Pyrofax Energy is excited to announce the kick-off of their annual Holiday Food and Toy Drive. Each person that drops off 3 non-perishable food items or a new toy to your local Pyrofax office on or before December 21st will be entered to win 100 gallons of fuel oil.Pyrofax Energy has provided 3 locations to drop off food items and new toys between 8am and 4:30pm. You may drop off your donation at: 512 Brooklyn Street, Morrisville; #24 VT Rte 17, Waitsfield; or 694 Hartford Avenue, White River Junction.

Saturday, Jan 7: Castleton Republican Party Quarterly Breakfast Gathering, 8:30 am at the Trak-In Restaurant, Route 30 North, Bomoseen. RSVP by Jan. 4, 2012 for reservations. Email to: castletonrepublicans@yahoo.com or call Gary Turgeon at 802-265-2237 or Al Gustafson 802-273-3954.



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