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Group of Vt. doctors push for single-payer health care reform

(WCAX)
Published: Sep. 28, 2020 at 5:50 PM EDT
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MONTPELIER, Vt. (WCAX) - A group of doctors and health care reform advocates is urging Vermont leaders to dump the state’s all-payer model and switch over to a single-payer system.

In the coming months, officials will have to decide to renew the state’s contract with OneCare Vermont, a group of providers and hospitals tasked with rolling out health care reform. Participation in the state’s health care reform efforts has been below targets, but OneCare leaders say reform efforts have shown cost savings.

The coalition of doctors says OneCare’s administrative costs have ballooned and the cost of care keeps rising. Instead, the group says the state should ditch the all-payer model and switch to a single-payer model.

“An investment of $200 million in some form of a tax could provide primary care for all Vermonters," said Dr. Deb Richter, the chair of Vermont Healthcare For All. "That would mean that nobody would have to worry if they have a cough or a fever or they needed a tetanus shot or a pap smear, they could go to their primary care practitioner and get that done.”

Former Governor Peter Shumlin previously pushed for the single-payer model but the effort fizzled out.

The all-payer model seeks to stabilize health care costs by promoting preventative care and paying doctors a flat rate instead of charging for each procedure.

“We’re seeing some significant growth next year in programs and participation by 20,000 to 30,000," said Vicki Loner, the CEO of OneCare. "I think that says we’ve been pretty nimble and responsive to what the providers are saying that we’ve needed.”

Regulators and OneCare leaders have stressed it will take time to see the full benefits of reform.

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