Newsletter: week ending April 27, 2012

Vermonters for Health Care Freedom

All the news this week focused on the approval of the Health Care Exchange bill, H.559, by the Vermont Senate. While the outcome was no surprise, the debate answered a number of questions – not only about H.559 but also about Green Mountain Care, the government-monopoly single payer health care reform started with the passage of Act 48 last year. Emails summarizing these debates were sent on Tuesday and Wednesday, and the summaries and commentaries are available on the VHCF web site at the following links:

http://vthealthcarefreedom.org/news/2012-04-23/many-questions-few-answers-senate-debates-health-care-exchange-bill

http://vthealthcarefreedom.org/news/2012-04-24/senate-ignores-vermonters-goes-gold-and-thumbs-its-nose-federal-law-through-passage-

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Forbes published an article by Todd Hixon titled “Consumer Driven Health Care Comes of Age,” connecting the recent declines in the cost of U.S. health care with the trend toward health insurance that requires the consumer to share in the cost.

“The rate of growth of health care expenditure in the U.S. slowed in 2009-2010 to 2% faster than inflation, versus 5% average from 1960-2008. Many analysts attribute this to decreased spending by health care customers who have more skin in the game (due to health plan changes that increase cost sharing) in a tough economy (e.g.).”

Four specific mechanisms are cited; 1) corporate plan sponsors are demanding transparency on treatment costs from providers and giving employees economic incentives to choose better value; 2) Medical Home primary care gives customers more control (“Medical Home” refers to more-intensive primary care); 3) efficient “retailing” has come to health care, especially in prescription drugs, and 4) health insurance is being trimmed back to cover only the uncertain parts of health care cost.

The full article is here: http://www.forbes.com/sites/toddhixon/2012/04/26/customer-driven-health-care-comes-of-age/

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Vermont Tiger published a commentary by VHCF’s Jeff Wennberg on the real reason for the Shumlin Administration’s insistence on making the Vermont Health Care Exchange mandatory. Wennberg points out that H.559 as passed by the Legislature appears to violate the federal Affordable Care Act, which is the federal law that requires the creation of the Exchange. Notwithstanding all the arguments thrown up by H.559 supporters, the truth can be discovered by simply following the money.

Full commentary here: http://www.vermonttiger.com/content/2012/04/h559-follow-the-money.html

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WCAX-TV ran this story when the Vermont Senate approved H.559. http://www.wcax.com/story/17672446/vt-senate-set-to-approve-next-phase-of-health-care-reform

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Heartlander Magazine, a publication of the Heartland Institute, ran a story titled “Vermont Embraces Single Payer Despite Obamacare Uncertainty,” on the day the senate passed H.559. The story focused on Governor Shumlin’s drive to implement single payer regardless of the outcome of the Supreme Court decision on Obamacare. The story focused on the lack of transparency regarding costs, benefits and financing and gave Vermont single payer critics, including VHCF’s Jeff Wennberg, a clear opportunity to present their case.

“Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute, says Shumlin has committed Vermont to a system plagued with long wait times, limited access, and total government control.

“Once this train gets going down the track to single payer, it’s not certain how the state will pay for it. After all, Vermont is no hotbed of entrepreneurial activity, so when payroll taxes are implemented to pay for this system, and businesses leave, leaving fewer taxpayers to pick up the tab, you will see insurance premiums and taxes rise as more and more people get on government benefit programs, the same as in Canada and Great Britain,” said Pipes.”

The full article is here: http://news.heartland.org/newspaper-article/2012/04/24/vermont-embraces-single-payer-despite-obamacare-uncertainty

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As Vermont is building a single payer government controlled Canadian-style health care system, many Canadians agree that they need to find another system because theirs isn’t working so well. Sun News Canada posted a video news story titled, “Fixing Canada’s Broken Health Care system.” They acknowledge that a number of European countries with a good mix of public and private financing work better. Some have considered the Swiss system to be one of the best. The question remains: Why is Vermont modeling Green Mountain Care after the Canadian system? Is no one paying attention to the situation there?

Sun News video can be seen here: http://www.sunnewsnetwork.ca/video/909810955001