Vermont Law School Dean Weighs in on Healthcare Bill

In a recent NPR article, the Dean of the Vermont Law School expressed the following concerns in regards to Vermont’s Healthcare bill:

“The report and the legislature’s own deliberations flag several difficult policy choices as Vermont moves forward.

First, if the Medicaid funds do not come in as projected, then the Vermont payroll tax identified as the primary source of payment will have to take up the slack.

Second, I question the assumption that Vermont can achieve the 25% “cost savings” projected in the report. This is an awfully high number for a tiny state with generally ethical providers.

Third, the report itself points out that the single-payer package contemplated provides LESS coverage than many insurance packages currently provided by Vermont employers.

Fourth, the Vermont legislature envisions that all the services covered (except Medicare) will be determined by state government. The HR departments of Vermont employers will no longer run interference on insurance claims and performance with private insurers.

Finally, healthcare insurance, while important, is currently but one of several state priorities, including the environment, education, economic development, energy and others. The size of the single payer expenditures will so dwarf all these other initiatives that, I fear, it will crowd them out in terms of state priorities and focus.”

Here is what he saw as the possible effects of the bill on the Vermont Law School as projected by their HR Department:

“The scope of insurance will be diminished both in services covered and the availability of out-of-network doctors.

The cost to our employees and to the law school may increase, given the payroll tax projections in the report.

Our employees will lose the benefit of our HR department’s ability to negotiate effectively on their behalf. While we will turn our advocacy to the state government, our leverage on behalf of our employees will be tiny compared to our current situation.

We and other employers will be forced into lobbying on an ongoing basis to deal with both the cost and the coverage issues.”

The Vermont Law School is not exactly a bastion of right wing conservatism.  One would be wise to assume that they do not raise such concerns lightly.  Is anyone listening?