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YCQM - Wendy Wilton - Nov. 6, 2011 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM - Wendy Wilton - Nov. 6, 2011

November 6, 2011 -- Wendy Wilton of Vermonters for Health Care Freedom joins Kristin Carlson and Darren Perron to discuss health care reform and the impact on the single-payer system.

>> FROM VERMONT, WCAX BRINGS YOU YOUR NEWS MAKER, YOUR NEIGHBORS. THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."

>> GOOD MORNING, EVERYONE. I'M DARREN PERRON.

>> I'M KRISTIN CARLSON. THANKS FOR JOINING US. OUR NEWS MAKER IS WENDY WILTON, A FORMER STATE LAWMAKER AND THE CURRENT TREASURY OF RUTLAND CITY.

>> SHE'S A CRITIC OF THE STATE'S PLAN THE MOVE TO A SINGLE PAYER HEALTH CARE SYSTEM CALLED GREEN MOUNTAIN CARE. WENDY, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING.

>> THANK YOU FOR THE INVITATION.

>> A NEW STATE REPORT PREDICTS THAT SINGLE PAYER COULD SAVE BETWEEN $500 MILLION AND $1.8 BILLION. YOU'VE RUN YOUR OWN NUMBERS, AND THOSE NUMBERS ARE VERY DIFFERENT. WHAT'S THE DIFFERENCE IN THESE TWO REPORTS?

>> PRIMARILY I LOOKED AT MATCHING REVENUES AND EXPENSES, WHICH MEANS I LOOKED AT WHAT ARE THE LIKELY REVENUES TO SUPPORT THE GREEN MOUNTAIN CARE PROGRAM AGAINST THE EXPENSES THAT WOULD BE PUT OUT IN HEALTH CARE COSTS AND OTHER MISCELLANEOUS COSTS. THE REPORT THAT CAME OUT THIS WEEK FROM THE STATE DOES NOT MATCH REVENUES TO EXPENSES. IT IS STRICTLY FOCUSED ON THE EXPENSE SIDE. THEY REALLY LOOKED AT THE EXPENSES WITHOUT THE COST SAVINGS PIECE AND WITH THE COST SAVINGS PIECE, AND UNTIL YOU MATCH IT UP TO REVENUES, YOU DON'T HAVE A COMPLETE PICTURE.

>> WHAT ARE YOUR NUMBERS SUGGESTING?

>> MY NUMBERS SUGGEST WHEN YOU MATCH THE REVENUES TO THE EXPENSES, YOU END UP WITH A DEFICIT OF POSSIBLY $2WILL BY THE END OF A FIVE-YEAR PERIOD AND AT LEAST $300 MILLION A YEAR SHORTFALL.

>> WE'RE GOING TO DELVE INTO THE NUMBERS, BUT FIRST AS YOU KNOW, THE ADMINISTRATION AND SOME OF THE LEGISLATIVE COUNCIL ARE DISPUTING YOUR REPORT. LEAST IT ALL COME DOWN TO THIS WAR OF NUMBERS. I WANT YOU TO LISTEN INTO STEVE KLEIN WITH THE JOINT FISCAL OFFICE. HERE IS WHAT WE SAID WHEN WE ASKED HIM ABOUT WHAT HE THOUGHT OF YOUR NUMBERS. LET'S LISTEN IN AND THEN WE'LL GET YOUR REACTION.

>> I THINK IT'S GREAT SHE SPENT THE TIME THINKING ABOUT IT. HOPEFULLY AS THIS COMES OUT IT WILL SHAPE THE THINKING AND SHE'S CLEARLY WRESTLED WITH TYPES OF ISSUES THAT THE STATE IS GOING TO HAVE TO WRESTLE WITH.

>> STEVE KLEIN WENT ON TO SAY A LOT COULD CHANGE UNDER FEDERAL HEALTH CARE CHANGES, AS WELL. WOULD THAT IMPACT YOUR NUMBERS?

>> I'M VERY WORRIED ABOUT WHAT WILL HAPPEN WITH FEDERAL SUPPORT OF THE STATES WITH HEALTH CARE CHANGE. I'M VERY CONCERNED THAT THE FEDERAL DOLLARS THAT WE SEE TODAY MAY DETERIORATE. I BELIEVE THAT THE ADMINISTRATION IS COUNTING ON AN ADDITIONAL $200 TO $400 MILLION TOBACCO MONEY TO COME TO THE STATE TO SUPPORT. THIS I DO NOT BELIEVE IT'S COMING. FROM THE NEWS ARTICLES I HAVE SEEN, IT LOOKS LIKE OTHER STATES ARE NOT COUNTING ON THAT ADDITIONAL MEDICAID MONEY EITHER. SO BECAUSE I DIDN'T PUT THAT ADDITIONAL MONEY IN MY PROJECTION ON THE REVENUE SIDE, THAT'S WHY YOU SEE THE SHORTFALL. IF THAT MONEY DOESN'T COME, THIS THING IS NOT POSSIBLE. IT IS NOT SUSTAINABLE AND IT REALLY CAN'T EVEN BEGIN. SO I'M A LITTLE CONCERNED THAT, AGAIN, THE ADMINISTRATION HASN'T PUT OUT VERY MUCH ON REVENUES. JSO HAS NOT FOCUSED ON REVENUES VERSUS EXPENSES. THE REVENUES LOOK LIKE A HOUSE OF CARDS. MOST OF IT IS DEPENDENT ON FEDERAL MONEY AND POSSIBLY PAYROLL TAX.

>> HOW ARE WE GOING TO PAY FOR IT?

>> EXACTLY? UNLESS YOU MATCH UP HOW YOU'RE GOING TO PAY FOR IT WITH THE COSTS, BECAUSE THIS IS ALL GOING TO GO TO THE STATE AS A LIABILITY, YOU REALLY DON'T HAVE A COMPLETE PICTURE. AND THAT'S THE REAL DIFFERENCE BETWEEN WHAT'S BEEN DONE SO FAR AND PUT OUT TO THE PUBLIC AND WHAT I HAVE DONE.

>> THE GOVERNOR AND THE ADMINISTRATION HAVE FIELDED QUESTIONS ABOUT HOW THEY'RE GOING TO PAY FOR IT FROM THE VERY BEGINNING WHEN THIS STARTED BEING TALKED ABOUT, THE SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM. IN THEIR CASE IT'S BEEN VERY CLEAR. WE NEED TO DESIGN THE SYSTEM, FIGURE OUT WHAT IT WILL COST AND THEN FIGURE OUT HOW TO PAY FOR IT. THEY'VE BEEN CLEAR IN SAYING IT MIGHT NOT BE PAYROLL TAX. WE'RE NOT SURE WHAT FORM IT WILL TAKE. DO YOU BYE THAT?

>> I DON'T. I'LL TELL YOU WHY. I SPENT ABOUT NINE MONTHS WORKING ON THE ITERATION OF THIS PROJECTION THAT YOU SEE TODAY. THERE'S NO OTHER PLACE TO GET $1.5 BILLION OF TAX REVENUE. YOU CAN'T GET THAT MUCH OUT OF THE INCOME TAX OVER WHAT WE'RE ALREADY TAKING FROM VERMONTERS' WALLETS THAT. GOES TO SUPPORT THE GENERAL FUND, AS YOU KNOW. YOU'RE NOT GOING TO GET IT IN A GOLDMAN SACHS. -- GAS TAX. THAT SUPPORTS THE TRANSPORTATION FUND. AND THE PROPERTY TAX, EVEN THE GOVERNOR HIMSELF ASSED A MID WE'RE TAPPED OUT ON PROPERTY TAX. SO I DON'T KNOW WHERE WE'LL GET $1.5 BILLION TO SUPPORT THIS OTHER THAN WITH A PAYROLL TAX. FURTHER A PAYROLL TAX MAKES SENSE. IT'S CERTAINLY WHAT DOCTORS SHALL PROPOSE, AND IT MAKES SENSE FROM THE PERSPECTIVE THAT PRIME HAVE ALWAYS HAD SUPPORT FOR HEALTH CARE AS PART OF THE PAYROLL COST OR THAT KIND OF THING, BUT AGAIN, BECAUSE YOU REALLY CAN'T GET THESE DOLLARS SOMEWHERE ELSE, I DON'T KNOW WHERE THEY GO WITH IT.

>> WOULD YOU SUPPORT A PAYROLL TAX THEN? IS THAT THE ONLY FEASIBLE THING IF WE PIEFERG FORWARD WITH THIS?

>> I THINK IT IS THE ONLY FEASIBLE PLACE TO GET IT, AND THE WORRY THAT I HAVE THERE IS THAT ALL OF THE EGGS ARE ON THE REVENUE SIDE FOR THIS PLAN ARE IN TWO VERY BIG BASKETS. THEY BOTH HAVE A RISK. THE RISK OF THE PAYROLL TAX IS IF YOU HIT AN ECONOMIC DOWNTURN, THE STATE PAYROLL GOES DOWN THEREFORE THE REVENUE GOES DOWN. AND IF YOU HAVE AN ISSUE WITH A COMMITMENT FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO SUPPORT THEIR PART WITH MEDICAID GLOBAL COMMITMENT OR THE ADDITIONAL MONEY, THEN WHAT HAPPENS? WHERE WILL WE FIND $3 OR $4 BILLION A YEAR? I MEAN, THIS IS REALLY A SERIOUS QUESTION. YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU STEP BACK AND LOOK AT THIS, THE CREATION OF THIS FUND, A HEALTH CARE FUND AT THE STATE LEVEL, IS EQUAL TO THE CURRENT SIZE OF THE GENERAL FUND, THE EDUCATION FUND AND THE TRANSPORTATION FUND TODAY COMBINED. THAT IS DOUBLING THE SIZE OF STATE GOVERNMENT OVERNIGHT SIMPLY BY SHIFTING THE BURDEN OF HEALTH CARE COSTS TO THE STATE.

>> DO YOU THINK THE CURRENT HEALTH CARE SYSTEM IS WORKING?

>> I DON'T. I THINK THERE ARE LOTS OF PROBLEMS. I THINK IT'S UNSUSTAINABLE. I DEFINITELY AGREE IT'S UNSUSTAINABLE. HOWEVER, LOOKING AT THESE NUMBERS, I AM CONCERNED THAT THIS COULD CREATE GREATER INSTABILITY AND CERTAINLY PRESENT A HUGE LIABILITY FOR THE TAXPAYERS OF THE STATE THAT MAY BE UNTENABLE. I'M HOPING THAT... A GOAL OF MINE ANYWAY IS THAT THE LEGISLATURE WILL TAKE A REALLY GOOD LOOK AT THE DUE DILIGENCE THAT THEY CAN DO. THEY REALLY NEED TO HOP ON THIS QUITE QUICKLY BECAUSE THE ADMINISTRATION IS EXPECTED TO COME BACK WITH THAT FUNDING MECHANISM IN ABOUT A YEAR IN JANUARY OF 2013. SO THE LEGISLATURE HAS A VERY SMALL WINDOW HERE THIS WINTER TO REALLY START DOING SOME DUE DILIGENCE. I'VE EVEN SPOKEN TO SOME OF THEM AND SAID, LOOK, DON'T RELY ON MY NUMBERS, GO GET YOUR OWN INDEPENDENT STUDY DONE, LIKE WHAT I HAVE DONE, AND MATCH UP THE LIKELY REVENUES AND THE FEASIBILITY OF THOSE REVENUES TO THE EXPENSE SIDE AND SEE WHAT YOU COME UP WITH. REALLY BE SURE YOURSELF THAT YOU'RE NOT HEADING THE STATE INTO FISCAL DANGER. AND THIS IS I BELIEVE THE RESULT OF THE CONCLUSION THAT I'VE COME TO IS THAT IS EXACTLY WHAT IT WOULD BE.

>> THIS REPORT FOUND THAT THE COST OF HEALTH CARE WOULD SOAR TO WELL OVER $10 BILLION BY 2020, A LITTLE LESS THAN NINE YEARS FROM NOW IF NOTHING IS DONE. AN SO I THINK SUPPORTERS OF THIS PLAN SAY, NOT ONLY DO THEY THINK IT WILL STREAMLINE PAPERWORK, MAKE SURE EVERYONE'S COVERED, BUT THAT IT WILL ALSO TRY TO REIN IN COSTS THAT AT THIS POINT SEEM TO BE INCREASING AND INCREASING AND INCREASING. SO YOU'RE SAYING YOU DON'T LIKE THIS PLAN, WHAT DO YOU THINK WOULD WORK TO REIN IN THESE COSTS OR SHOULD WE STAY WITH STATUS QUO?

>> WELL, ONE THING TO BE VERY CAREFUL OF IS THAT THE NUMBERS ARE WHAT... THE REPORT THAT CAME OUT THIS WEEK, THEY LOOKED AT THE NUMBERS ON HEALTH CARE COSTS AND STATUS QUO. THEY DID NOT INCLUDE THE BLUEPRINT FOR HEALTH SAVINGS, WHICH THE LEGISLATURE PASSED BACK IN 2006, SO THAT'S AN ONGOING PROGRAM THAT WE HAVE IN PLACE, AND THERE WERE SOME EXPECTATIONS ON WHAT THOSE SAVINGS WOULD BE. I KNOW THERE WAS A CRITICISM OF THIS REPORT THAT CAME OUT THIS WEEK BECAUSE THE BASELINE, WHICH IS IF WE DON'T DO ANYTHING, WHAT HAPPENS DID NOT INCLUDE THOSE BLUEPRINT SAVINGS WHICH REALLY SHOULD BE THERE.

>> THE BLUEPRINT IS THE STATEWIDE PLAN TO HELP PEOPLE WITH CHRONIC AILMENTS AND REALLY SORT OF PREVENTATIVE CARE?

>> MY UNDERSTANDING IS THAT WE ARE ENJOYING SOME SAVINGS OFF OF THAT ALREADY, THAT THERE WOULD BE WRAPAROUND SERVICES THAT ARE TRYING TO STREAMLINE REPORTING AND CARE AND THOSE KINDS OF THINGS. SO WHILE THERE MIGHT BE, YOU KNOW, CERTAINLY I THINK WHAT THIS INDICATES TO ME ANYWAY IS THAT THERE ARE A LOT OF THINGS WE CAN DO TO IMPLEMENT COST SAVINGS TODAY AND NOT WAIT UNTIL THIS SYSTEM IS IMPLEMENTED. WE'RE DOING SOME OF THAT NOW. WE COULD RAMP THAT UP A LITTLE BIT BETTER. THERE WERE SOME MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE THAT INTRODUCED BILLS THAT WOULD DO THAT. WHY NOT START THESE COST-SAVING MECHANISMS TODAY AN DON'T WAIT UNTIL YOU CONVERT TO A DIFFERENT SYSTEM. THAT'S ONE THING. THE SECOND THING I URGE PEOPLE TO THINK ABOUT, AND I DON'T HEAR THIS CONVERSATION HERE, IS WHAT ARE THE BEST PRACTICES OUT THERE IN THE PRIVATE SECTOR AND WHAT ARE COMPANIES DOING TO KEEP THEIR HEALTH CARE COSTS DOWN TO 3% TO 4%, MUCH MORE IN LINE WITH THE ECONOMIC GROWTH? SO WHAT ARE THEY DOING? WHAT THEY'RE DOING IS THE FOLLOWING? THEY HAVE FOCUSED AGGRESSIVELY ON WELLNESS, ESPECIALLY THOSE SELF-FUNDED GROUPS THAT ARE CALLED THE ARISA EMPLOYERS LIKE IBM, UVM, VERMONT STATE COLLEGES. THEY REALLY EMBRACED WELLNESS. THEY'VE GONE TO THE POINT TO INSETTING PEOPLE WHO HAVE HEALTHY LIFE STYLES AND DISINSENGTING PEOPLE WHO DON'T. IN OTHER WORDS, THEY'VE MADE THE PRICE OF THE INSURANCE DIFFERENT OR THEY'VE HAD SOME OTHER INCENTIVES IN PLACE. WHY COULDN'T WE DO THAT AS A STATE? WE HAVE 621,000 PEOPLE IN VERMONT. WE COULD BE A SMALL-TO-MID-SIZE INSURANCE GROUP WHEN YOU THINK ABOUT IT. I THINK WE NEED TO GIVE PEOPLE OPTIONS IN THE TYPE OF INSURANCE OR COVERAGE THEY WOULD WANT BECAUSE A ONE-SIZE-FITS-ALL IS REALLY NOT APPROPRIATE. AND I THINK THERE NEEDS TO BE GREATER SKIN IN THE GAME. THERE ARE SOME FOLKS WHO DON'T PAY ANYTHING FOR THEIR HEALTH CARE COVERAGE. AND THIS IS PARTICULARLY TRUE ON THE PUBLIC SIDE. IF THERE WAS A LITTLE BIT OF COST SHARE, EVEN JUST A LITTLE BIT, I THINK PEOPLE START RECOGNIZING THAT IT'S NOT GOOD FOR THE WHOLE SYSTEM TO OVERUTILIZE AND PEOPLE NEED TO BE CONSCIOUS OF THAT. AND LASTLY, I THINK THERE'S ANOTHER THING WE COULD DO. IF WE LOOK AT THE EXCHANGE VERY SERIOUSLY, WHICH IS FIRST COMPONENT OF ACT 48, AND WE REALLY CREATE A ROBUST INSURANCE EXCHANGE, ALLOWING SOME DIFFERENT OPTIONS FOR PEOPLE, TAILORING IT TO WHAT THEY NEED, IF WE WERE TO DO THAT IN -- AND IMPLEMENT WELLNESS AND STRATEGIES AS WELL AS COST SAVINGS THROUGH BLUEPRINT, THERE'S ONE MORE PIECE I THINK WOULD BE IMPORTANT. IF WE WERE ABLE TO CAP AT THE PRESENT TIME -- CAPITATE THE OF INSURANCE TO A $100,000, $150,000 TOTAL CAP BUT ALLOW THE STATE TO BE THE BACKSTOP, IN OTHER WORDS, DO THE REINSURANCE PLAN, YOU MIGHT HAVE A SITUATION WHERE WE'RE ALL INSURED REASONABLY AT A REASONABLE PRICE THAT WE CAN AFFORD FOR SOME INSURANCE THAT TAKES US RIGHT UP TO SOME CATASTROPHIC EVENT, AND THEN THEREAFTER THE STATE PICKS IT UP WITH REINSURANCE. I THINK THAT THAT WOULD BE A REALLY ADMIRABLE ROLE FOR THE STATE TO BACK THAT UP. IT BRINGS THE STATE IN A POSITION TO CONTROL THE COSTS AND REALLY LOOK AT THE INSURANCE PLAN AND STREAMLINE THINGS AND REALLY HAVE THE INFORMATION TECHNOLOGY THERE THAT'S EXPECTED. BUT WITHOUT RESTRICTING IT TO A ONE-SIDES-FITS-ALL, SINGLE-PAYER SYSTEM, WHICH I THINK IF I READ THE TEA LEEFLS CORRECTLY, THAT'S WHAT THE THINKING IS TODAY. SO I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF OPTIONS OUT THERE. I PROBABLY TALKED TOO ABOUT THAT. BUT I HAVE THOUGHT ABOUT THIS A LOT, PARTICULARLY SINCE I MANAGE HEALTH CARE FOR A GROUP OF ABOUT 180 PEOPLE. AND RECENTLY IN THE CITY OF RUTLAND, WE WENT TO A HIGH DEDUCTIBLE PLAN. WELL, THERE'S A LITTLE BIT MORE COST SHARE THERE FROM THE EMPLOYEE. YOU WON'T BELIEVE HOW MUCH PEOPLE ARE STARTING TO SHOP HEALTH CARE. JUST WITH THAT COMPONENT OF A LITTLE MORE EXPOSURE ON THE COST SIDE. SO I THINK THOSE KINDS OF THINGS CAN WORK.

>> YOU'VE BEEN A VOCAL CRITIC OF THIS PLAN. HAVE THESE IDEAS THAT YOU JUST PRESENTED BEEN MET WITH RESISTANCE FROM THE ADMINISTRATION?

>> I DON'T KNOW BECAUSE I HAVE NEVER FORMALLY INTRODUCED THEM. I'VE SPOKEN TO PEOPLE IN THE LAST COUPLE OF WEEKS ABOUT THAT. I'VE... THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE WHO HAVE THESE SAME KIND OF IDEAS. I'VE SPOKEN TO A COUPLE OF THE LEGISLATORS. YOU PROBABLY KNOW I SENT ALL OF THE MEMBERS OF THE LEGISLATURE A LETTER ALONG WITH MY PROJECTION TO CHALLENGE THEM TO UNDERTAKE AN INDEPENDENT STUDY FOR THEMSELVES, TO REALLY SATISFY THAT THEY WEREN'T GOING HEADLONG INTO A FISCAL CRISIS FOR THE STATE IF THIS IS IMPLEMENTED. AND IN THOSE CONVERSATION, WE'VE HAD SOME OF THESE TALKS ABOUT WHERE COULD WE GO, AND SO I THINK THERE'S DEFINITELY... THERE ARE DEFINITELY OTHER OPTIONS OUT THERE. WE'RE SMALL ENOUGH AND NIMBLE ENOUGH THAT WE OUGHT TO BE ABLE TO DO IT.

>> SOUNDS LIKE WHAT YOU'RE SAYING IS MAYBE MORE TAKE THE CURRENT SYSTEM AND MAKE SOME CHANGES AROUND THE EDGES BUT KEEP THE SYSTEM INTACT. PROPONENTS OF HEALTH CARE REFORM SAY WE NEED TO CHUCK THE SYSTEM OUT AND START OVER AGAIN.

>> WELL, I THINK THERE ARE A LOT OF SYSTEM CHANGES THAT NEED TO OCCUR, AS WELL, IN TERMS OF HOW WE DELIVER CARE. YOU KNOW, HOW MUCH COMPETITION THAT WE HAVE IN TERMS OF, YOU KNOW, WHAT'S THE CHOICE OF A HEALTH CARE PLAN, THOSE KINDS OF THINGS. I THINK THERE'S A LOT THAT COULD AND SHOULD BE CHANGED.

>> DO YOU THINK ULTIMATELY THIS PLAN WILL PASS? YOU KNOW, THIS IS NOT FIRST TIME THE STATE HAS GONE DOWN THIS HEALTH CARE REFORM ROAD. YOU'LL PROBABLY REMEMBER BACK WHEN GOVERNOR DEAN WAS GOVERNOR, THEY LOOKED AT IT AND WHEN HE SAW THE FINANCING AND WHAT IT WOULD COST AND HE SAID, NO, I'M PUTTING THE BRAKES ON THIS. DO YOU THINK THAT COULD HAPPEN THIS TIME?

>> I DON'T KNOW. IT ALL DEPENDS ON, IN MY MIND, IT DEPENDS ON WHETHER OR NOT THE LEGISLATURE REALLY, REALLY STARTS DOING SOME INTROSPECTION. IF THEY REALLY START SAYING, I THINK WE BETTER OWN UP TO OUR FIDUCIARY RESPONSIBILITY AND EXAMINE WHAT THIS CAN MEAN. AND I BELIEVE, BECAUSE I'VE BEEN ABLE TO DO IT, THERE'S ENOUGH INFORMATION OUT THERE IN STATE DOCUMENTS IN ADMINISTRATION MEMOS AND SO ON THAT LEADS YOU TO UNDERSTAND WHAT THE FUNDING MECHANISM IS, WHAT THE BENEFIT LEVELS ARE LIKELY TO BE. THERE'S ENOUGH THERE TO DO THE PROJECTION I'VE DONE. ANYBODY WHO HAS A FISCAL APTITUDE CAN DO WHAT I'VE DONE, BUT CERTAINLY IF THE LEGISLATURE WERE TO UNDERTAKE IT, I THINK THEY WOULD WANT TO GET AN INDEPENDENT ACCOUNTING AGENCY OR SOMEBODY WITH ACTUARIAL RESOURCES AND THAT KIND OF THING TO REALLY DO A HIGH-STUDY. I THINK THEY REALLY SHOULD DO IT, THOUGH, JUST TO BE SURE.

>> JUST QUICKLY, WENDY, INITIALLY WHEN THIS PLAN CAME OUT, OPPOSITION WAS A LITTLE QUIET BECAUSE THERE WERE SO FEW DETAILS. WE'RE SEEING MORE AND MORE DETAILS IS. THERE GOING TO BE MORE OF AN ORGANIZED EFFORT BY O'PHONES REALLY TRY TO STOP THIS FROM HAPPENING NOW? ARE YOU SEEING THAT OR FEELING THAT.

>> I DON'T KNOW. BUT I DO THINK THAT THERE IS A QUIET, ALTHOUGH GROWING A LITTLE LOUDER, VOICE OF CONCERN FROM THE BUSINESS COMMUNITY. I THINK THAT WHEN YOU START TALKING ABOUT SOMETHING THAT'S 11% OF PAYROLL, THAT THE EMPLOYER WOULD PAY, IF YOU PAY LOW WAGES, THAT'S A REALLY GOOD DEAL. SO THERE'S SOME WINNERS AND LOSERS HERE, BUT IF YOU PLAY REALLY HIGH WAGES AND YOU HAVE A SELF--FUNDED PLAN, YOU'VE BEEN ABLE TO CONTROL YOUR COST, YOU'RE PROBABLY NOT PAYING 11% OF PAYROLL FOR THE HEALTH CARE COST ON THE EMPLOYER SIDE. SO THIS IS A DISADVANTAGE TO YOU RATHER THAN AN ADVANTAGE. SO THAT'S ONE OF THOSE POLICY CONSIDERATIONS THAT'S AN OUTCOME OF WHAT THIS MIGHT BE THAT I'M NOT SURE HAS BEEN FOUGHT OF, AND THAT SHOULD BE PART OF AN INDEPENDENT STUDY, AS WELL, THE ECONOMIC IMPACTS OF PASSING THIS. WE'RE THE ONLY STATE THAT'S DOING IT. I REALLY FEEL WE NEED TO MOVE FORWARD WITH GREAT TREPIDATION AND EYES COMPLETELY OPEN AND REALLY UNDERSTANDING WHERE THIS MIGHT TAKE US.

>> WE HAVE TO LEAVE IT THERE.

>> WE DO. WENDY WILTON, THANK YOU FOR JOINING US THIS MORNING.

>> THANK YOU SO MUCH.

>> "NEIGHBORS IN

>> IF YOU NEED SURGERY ANY TIME SOON, CHANCES ARE A ROBOT MAY DO YOUR OPERATION. ROBOTIC-ASSISTED SURGERY HAS BECOME THE STANDARD OF CARE IN MANY SPECIALITIES.

>> CONTRACTORS AT FLETCHING HEALTH CARE RECENTLY COMPLETED THEIR 1,000th OPERATION WITH THE SYSTEM, AND WE INTRODUCE YOU TO DaVINCI. YOU MAY FIND THESE PICTURES GRAPHIC.

>> INSIDE A OPERATING ROOM, DOCTORS WORK TO PREP THE DaVINCI. THEY'RE GETTING ITS ARMS INTO PLACE, ARMS INSERTED INTO THE PATIENTS WITH TINY INCISIONS WITH SCISSOR, A GRASPER, A CAUTERIZER AND OTHER TOOLS NEEDED TO REMOVE THE PHI BRIDE TUMORS ATTACHED TO THE INSIDE AND OUTSIDE OF THIS PATIENT'S UTERUS. ONCE IN PLACE THE SURGEON SITS AT THE CONTROLS WITH FOOT PEDALS AND HAND CONTROLS.

>> THE ROBOTIC SYSTEM IS ONLY A ROBOT BECAUSE IT LOOK LIKE THE OLD-FASHIONED ROBOT WITH THE DIFFERENT ARMS THAT COME OUT. NONE OF THOSE ARMS WILL MOVE WITHOUT MY COMMAND. SO I HAVE FULL CONTROL OF EACH OF THOSE ARMS.

>> ROBOTIC SURGERY HAS REVOLUTIONIZED MEDICINE IN MANY WAYS. FOR DOCTORS, IT PROVIDES ADDITIONAL PRECISION AND VISION AND SOMETIMES DELICATE PROCEDURES. THAT COMES FROM THE MACHINE'S MORE STABLE INSTRUMENT, ITS FIRST-EVER 3-D IMAGE AND ITS ABILITY TO TWIST TOOLS AND MOVE THEM INTO HARD-TO-REACH PLACES INSIDE THE HUMAN BODY, MANEUVERS NOT POSSIBLE WITH A HUMAN WRIST.

>> WHAT HAS THE DaVINCI MEANT FOR MODERN MEDICINE, ESPECIALLY IN YOUR PRACTICE?

>> THE DaVINCI SYSTEM HAS REALLY ENABLED US TO PERFORM COMPLEX SURGERIES. IT HAS FIVE SMALL HOLES.

>> FIVE SMALL HOLES THROUGH A LONG, VERTICAL INCISION THROUGH MUSCLE, NERVE AND OTHER TISSUE. THAT MEANS SIGNIFICANT BENEFITS FOR PATIENTS, LESS BLOOD LOSS, LESS PAIN, LESS SCATTERING, LESS RISK OF INFECTION, SHORTER HOSPITAL STAYS AND A FASTER RECOVERY OVERALL.

>> I TRULY WAS UP AND READY TO GO A WEEK AFTER.

>> MARY KATHLEEN DALEY WAS FLETCHER ALLEN'S FIRST ROBOTIC SURGERY PATIENT THREE YEARS AGO. A CANCER DIAGNOSIS AND HER UTERUS NEEDED TO BE REMOVED.

>> AT FIRST I THINK I WAS SHOCKED THAT A ROBOT COULD DO SOMETHING LIKE, THAT BUT I'M A PRODUCT OF THE '80s. I GREW UP ON ATARI. I WANTED A ROBOT TO DO MY SURGERY. YOU KNOW, THAT'S JUST... IT JUST SEEMED REALLY COOL.

>> SHE WAS OUT OF THE HOSPITAL IN JUST OVER A DAY INSTEAD OF FOUR. IT'S A SIMILAR SITUATION FOR MEN WHO HAVE THEIR PROSTATE REMOVED. NEARLY ALL OF THOSE OPERATIONS ARE NOW PERFORMED WITH THIS SYSTEM, AND WHAT USED TO REQUIRE MONTHS OF RECOVERY HAS BEEN WHITTLED DOWN TO WEEKS.

>> I THINK BIGGEST THING IS THE RECOVERY. THE TRICK IS SIX WEEKS LATER, THESE MEN HAVE, YOU KNOW, 80-PLUS PERCENT OF THEIR FUNCTIONING BACK TO GO TO WORK SAFELY, TO GO TO SCHOOL TO, DO THEIR THING WHERE IT WOULD NORMALLY... THERE WAS A 30% OF THEM MIGHT TAKE SIX MONTHS.

>> DESPITE THE MACHINE'S $1. MILLION PURCHASE PRICE, DOCTORS BELIEVE FASTER RETURN TO WORK, FEWER INFECTIONS AND THE SHORTER HOSPITAL STAYS AAMOUNT TO LOWER HEALTH CARE COSTS IN THE LONG RUN. RIGHT NOW ROBOTIC SURGERY HAS BECOME THE STANDARD OF CARE IN GYNECOLOGY, UROLOGY, PEDIATRIC UROLOGY AND FOR PARTIAL KIDNEY REMOVAL, AND AT FLETCHER ALLEN HEALTH CARE, THEY EXPECT THAT FIELD TO GROW IN THE NEAR FUTURE. BRIDGETTE BARRY CASWELL, CHANNEL 3 NEWS, BURLINGTON.

>> AMAZING. A STATE SEMIFINAL PIT RICE AGAINST STOWE, BUT THE FOCUS OF MANY IN ATTENDANCE AT THE MATCH WAS A COACH.

>> THAT'S RIGHT. WE INTRODUCE YOU TO A WOMAN WHO HAS LED TEAMS TO MORE THAN 500 WINS IN HER CAREER.

>> TUESDAY AFTERNOON RICE AND STOWE SQUARED OFF IN THE STATE FIELD HOCKEY SEMIFINAL. FANS CAME TO SUPPORT THEIR TEAM, AND COACH BEV OSTERBERG, AFFECTIONATELY KNOWN BY GENERATIONS OF STUDENTS AS MS. O.

>> THE KIDS COMPLAIN ABOUT THE YELLING NOW, AND I SAY, YOU'VE SEEN NOTHING.

>> SHE'S A GREAT COACH, ONE THAT YOU DON'T APPRECIATE UNTIL AFTER YOU HAVE LEFT HIGH SCHOOL.

>> SHE BECAME MORE LIKE A SECOND MOM TO ME.

>> PLEASE JOIN ME ON THIS CORNER OF THE FIELD FOR A SPECIAL CEREMONY.

>> BEFORE TUESDAY'S GAME, STOWE STAFF DEDICATED THE FIELD TO THEIR COACH.

>> IT'S ABOUT TIME THAT WE CELEBRATED HER AND ALL THE YEARS OF ACCOMPLISHMENT THAT'S HAD.

>> I JUST TAKE ONE YEAR AT A TIME, ONE GAME AT A TIME AND TRY TO DO THE BEST I CAN BECAUSE I LOVE THE GAME AND I LOVE THE COACH.

>> MS. O HAS COACHED FOR MORE THAN 44 YEARS ON THIS FIELD THAT NOW BEARS HER NAME. MANY OF HER FORMER STUDENTS FOLLOWED HER CAREER PATH.

>> I JUST RETIRED THREE YEARS AGO FROM COACHING. I COACHED FOR 35 YEARS.

>> JULIE BENSON AND SEVERAL OF HERRELLTIVES PLAYED UNDER MS.-OF-.

>> I'M A PHYS ED LIKE BEV WAS AND DRIVER'S ED TEACHER LIKE BEV WAS. SHE'S BEEN A BIG INSPIRATION IN MY LIFE. SHE'S DEAL BEEN A MENTOR FOR ME.

>> I'D LIKE TO SEE MY KIDS ARE STILL HERE WHEN SHE'S COACHING.

>> IF SHE HAD HER SAY, SHE'D BE HERE FOR ANOTHER 44.

>> SHE WON'T GET THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THAT, BUT SHE WILL HAVE A SHOT AT HER 16th STATE CHAMPIONSHIP THIS SATURDAY AFTER HER GIRLS BEAT RICE 2-1. MS. O, A SOCCER STANDOUT AT CASTELLON STATE COLLEGE, KNEW NOTHING ABOUT FIELD HOCKEY BEFORE COMING TO STOWE. IN HER TIME AT THE SCHOOL, SHE'S ALSO COACHED SEVERAL OTHER SPORTS. CHANNEL 3 NEWS, BURLINGTON.

>> KIDS IN CASTELLON WENT HOG WILD OVER A PIG PARADE.

>> A PIG PARADE. I LIKE THAT. SO WHAT WAS BEHIND IT? DEANNA LeBLANC MARCHED ALONG TO FIND OUT.

>> TOY GLOVES, A MARCHING BAND AND A PIG? THAT'S RIGHT. THE FUN FARM ANIMAL JOINED THE KIDS AT CASTELLON ELEMENTARY FOR A PICKING PARADE IN HONOR OF THE BOOK "A PIG PARADE IS A TERRIBLE IDEA" BY MICHAEL IAN BLACK. WHILE THE KIDS ENJOYED HAPPENING IT UP AND MARCHING ALONGSIDE THE BAND, TEACHERS SAY IT'S NOT JUST HOGWASH.

>> I THINK ANY TIME YOU CAN GET KIDS UP, MOVING AROUND, INTERACTING WITH EACH OTHER, DOING THOSE KINDS OF FUN THINGS WHILE THEY'RE LEARNING AT THE SAME TIME, THEY'RE GOING TO REMEMBER IT BETTER. THEY'RE GOING TO UNDERSTAND IT MORE DEEPLY.

>> MUSIC, ART AND LIBRARY TEACHERS EMBRACE A TEAM CONCEPT TO INTRODUCE THE BOOK TO STUDENTS IN MANY DIFFERENT WAYS.

>> COME IN AND THEY SEE THAT THE BOOK IS ON YOUR SHELF. OH, MY GOODNESS, WE JUST DID THAT IN MRS. LEWIS' ROOM. THERE IS THAT CONNECTED. THEY GET REALLY EXCITED.

>> WHILE THE POPULAR BOOK ABOUT PORKERS GRABBED KIDS' ATTENTION, IT WAS ALSO USED TO MEET MANY STATE STANDARDS.

>> WE CAME UP WITH DIFFERENT SHAPE PATTERNS USING EITHER COLOR OR THE SHAPE. AB PATTERN, ABC PATTERN. SO THAT REINFORCED FOR THE SMALLER CHILDREN THINGS THAT WE'RE LEARNING IN THEIR CLASSROOM.

>> THE VERMONT GLADE ARE LEVEL EXPECT TRACES ALL HAVE COMPONENTS WHERE K1 WILL BE WORKING ON STEADY BEAT CON SEPTSDS AND STARTING TO FEEL THAT INTERNALLY. THEY'RE SUPPOSED TO JUMP IN ON INSTRUMENTS IN A CERTAIN SEQUENCE.

>> IT'S ALSO ON A LIST OF STATE-ASSIGNED LITERATURE. WHILE LEARNING IS BEING MASKED AS PIGGY PARADE FUN, THE GROUNDWORK IS ALSO BEING LAID TO HELP THESE STUDENTS BECOME GOOD THINKERS.

>> IF THEY'RE GOING OUT INTO THIS WORLD AND GETTING A JOB THAT WE DON'T EVEN KNOW EXISTS YET, THEY'RE GOING TO NEED TO BE ABLE TO BE FLEXIBLE AND CREATIVE AND PROBLEM SOLVERS, KIND OF ON THE SPOT, AND WORK TOGETHER.

>> PROBLEM SOLVERS OF THE FUTURE MAYBE, BUT FOR TODAY THEY SEEM HAPPY TO JUST BE PIGS. DEANNA LeBLANC, CHANNEL 3 NEWS, CASTELLON.

>> VERY CUTE.

>> YEAH.

>> WELL, AT 81 YEARS OLD, MOST PEOPLE HAVE RETIRED, RIGHT? BUT NOT FLOYD MINER.

>> NO WAY. HE'S A SUPER SENIOR STILL ON THE GO. JOE CARROLL TRIED TO CATCH UP WITH HIM.

>> IT'S A TYPICAL DAY IN COLCHESTER.

>> YEP, YEP.

>> AND FLOYD MINEER IS BUSY HELPING CUSTOMERS. YOU CAN FIND HIM IN THE PLUMBING AND ELECTRICAL SECTION OF THIS BUSY HARDWARE STORE.

>> WE SHOULD HAVE THAT RIGHT HERE SOMEWHERE.

>> HE KEEPS ACTIVE.

>> I DON'T MIND WORKING AT ALL.

>> CHECKING INVENTORY.

>> ORDERING TODAY.

>> AND KEEPING IN CHECK.

>> WE JUST GET HER DONE.

>> WITH HIS CO-WORKERS. FLOYD DOESN'T MIND WORKING AT ALL, IN FACT, HE'S ALWAYS HAD A JOB THROUGH HIS LONG LIFE.

>> RIGHT THERE.

>> MINER IS 81.

>> YOU HAVE TO WORK AT A LATE AGE.

>> MARIE IS FLOYD'S WIFE OF 30 YEARS, AND SHE AND HER HUSBAND ARE ALMOST INSEPARABLE.

>> WE ENJOY EACH OTHER'S COMPANY.

>> SHE WORKS, TOO, AS A BABYSITTER, AND BOTH VOLUNTEER THEIR TIME TO MANY CAUSES.

>> FLOYD WILL DO ANYTHING AND EVERYTHING TO HELP AN INDIVIDUAL.

>> BUT FLOYD IS NO SAINT.

>> NO, I'M NOT PERFECT, DON'T INTEND TO BE.

>> A PRACTICAL JOKER ALL HIS LIFE.

>> WE MOVE ONE OF MY FATHER'S UP ON THE SECOND FLOOR OF THE EIGHTH GRADE SCHOOL BUILDING.

>> BUT HARD WORKER, TOO.

>> PUT THE OIL IN IT.

>> FLOYD'S WORKED AT LAKE SHORE HARDWARE FOR OVER A DECADE. THEY'RE KNOWN FOR HAVING POPCORN IN THE STORE. BUT WHAT HAPPENED 60 YEARS AGO WAS NO TREAT. FLOYD WAS A PARATROOPER WHO JUMPED OUT OF PLANES. HIS FIRST JUMP WAS INTO NORTH KOREA. SOME PEOPLE CALL IT A CONFLICT. WHAT DO YOU CALL IT?

>> IT WAS NO CONFLICT.

>> WHAT WAS IT?

>> HUH?

>> WHAT WAS IT?

>> A WAR.

>> IT IS HARD TO TALK ABOUT?

>> YEAH, IT IS.

>> WHY?

>> LOST A FEW BUDDIES.

>> FLOYD LEFT THE ARMY A SERGEANT, CAME HOME TO VERMONT, WORKED IN A MINE AND THEN A FARM, BUT HIS BIGGEST INJURY DIDN'T HAPPEN IN KOREA.

>> I LOST THAT ON A FARM ACCIDENT.

>> HE WAS HELPING A FRIEND WHEN HIS LEG GOT CAWRLGT IN A SILO UNLOADER, SEVERING IT.

>> THEY SAID I WOULDN'T LIVE THE NIGHT, BUT I DID, FOOLED 'EM.

>> NOW MOST PEOPLE DON'T EVEN KNOW HE HAS AN ARTIFICIAL LEG AND HE DOESN'T LET IT BOTHER HIM. A MAN WITH A ZEST FOR LIFE AND A WICKED LAUGH. JOE CARROLL, CHANNEL 3 NEWS, COLCHESTER.

>> A CONTAGIOUS LAUGH.

>> YEAH. IT WAS AWESOME.

>> YEAH. AND HE'S CAUGHT UP WITH SO MANY GREAT SENIORS. JOE WILL HAVE MORE SUPER SENIORS AS OUR SERIES CONTINUES THIS MONTH.

>> ALL RIGHT. HAVE A GREAT SUNDAY, EVERYONE.

>> WE'LL SEE YOU SOON.

>> BYE-BYE.

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