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Answers to Five of the Latest Myths Being Spread About Single Payer in Vermont

Vermont for Single Payer, 5/28/12

Indiana would be a good model for Vermont: Indiana has 14% of their population uninsured, we have 8%. Indiana has 8% of their kids uninsured, Vermont has 4%. According to the United Health Foundation, Vermont is the healthiest state and Indiana checks in at #41. Women in Indiana receive both mammograms and pap smears at lower rates than the national average.

Canadian single payer is a bad model for Vermont: Vermont is creating its own single payer system – one that will work here for Vermonters. Nonetheless, when people hear about single payer they often think about Canada, and there are many myths that the opposition will use about Canadian health care to scare people about the possibility of creating a single payer system in Vermont. We have to remember that Canadians live two years longer than Americans and their health care costs are half of what ours are per person. Interestingly, each year since 2004 more physicians have returned to Canada than have emigrated, and this indicates general satisfaction with the system. For more on the myths of  Canadian health care, take a look at this article on debunking the myths about Canadian health care

We’re moving too fast on health care, and there’s been no discussion about the options. Vermont is hardly moving too fast on health care. In fact, Vermonters have been discussing health care reform since the early 1990s when Howard Dean was Governor. The state has commissioned independent studies and each one has concluded that single payer is the most cost-effective for the state.

We don’t know what it will cost: The proposal worked out by Dr William Hsiao the economist from Harvard who designed the Taiwan system, estimated that the entire system would be approximately $5.5 billion (after PPACA implementation) in 2015. This is $180 million less than the current projection for the same year. And keep in mind this is with EVERY Vermonter getting a generous benefit package with doctor care, hospital care, eye care some dental, mental health , and prescriptions. Do you have a plan that generous now? It makes no sense for Vermonters to waste money on needless paperwork and transaction costs when that same amount of money can be used for Vermonters health care.

Your taxes will increase by 5 billion dollars: To suggest that our taxes will increase by 5 billion is completely deceptive. That is what we are already paying. Vermonters are already financing every penny of the $5.3 billion we will be spending this year on health care in one way or another. We won’t be increasing what we pay for health care with single payer but financing health care in a efficient way. The difference with single payer is that there will be predictable dedicated costs for the health care services we want for ourselves and others rather than the hodgepodge way we piece together the financing of those services now (insurance premiums, property taxes for public employees’ health insurance, higher prices for goods, huge out of pocket costs with co-pays, deductibles and even bankruptcies, taxes for Medicare and Medicaid, etc).