Changing the way health care is delivered

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copyright the Chronicle November 16, 2016

 

by Joseph Gresser

On October 26 the Green Mountain Care Board (GMCB) gave its approval to a new way to pay for medical services, called the all-payer model. The next day Governor Peter Shumlin and Secretary Hal Cohen of the state Agency on Human Services followed suit, putting their names to an agreement that’s meant to reconfigure the state’s health care system.

Even before the election, Governor-elect Phil Scott said he thought the agreement was approved with too much haste. In interviews after voters picked him to succeed Governor Shumlin, Mr. Scott said he plans to look at the model more closely before deciding whether to continue on the path it sets out, or cancel the agreement.

The results of the national election may relieve him of that task. President-elect Donald Trump has promised to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA), more commonly known as Obamacare.

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Editorial: No retreat

President Obama was right to stand his ground while the government was shut down by the U.S. House of Representatives, which is controlled by the Republican Party, which is controlled by its extreme right wing.

To give in would have been to turn the government over to minority rule by a group united in its hatred of government.  As Senator Bernie Sanders has said, to give up part of Obama Care to avoid the shutdown would only invite the House to use its absolute control over the budget to pick off the next program it decides to hate — Social Security, say, or Medicare.

Sensing, perhaps, that they have misjudged the public mood, the Republicans are now trying to choreograph a slow retreat.  Their leaders propose to fund the most popular federal services — the national parks were on the bargaining table Tuesday night — while leaving the programs they most dislike begging.

If the Democrats agree to play that game, the result will be the same.  The Republicans will fund just exactly as much government as they want, of exactly the sort they want.  That would seem pretty much like running the country.  In their effort to do that through the electoral process, the Republicans missed a couple of steps, like the Senate and the presidency.

The Democrats need to hang tough in this crisis.  The Republicans need to answer a question posed during a recent, unrelated argument by Barton Village Trustee David White:  “Why can’t we all put our big boy pants on?”

And as long as we’re excoriating people, we’re puzzled by the gag order that padlocked federal agencies have imposed on their idle employees.

Why shouldn’t we know about the services they are unable to provide?  Why shouldn’t we know how this has affected their lives and their families?

Fact is, they and the rest of us are being screwed by the devious, anti-democratic machinations of the right-wing rump of the Republican Party.  And everybody should have the right to say so. — C.B.

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