Tuesday, March 18, 2014

OC: First US Single Payer State Health System Would Require Doubling Taxes

No, no it can't
No, no it can’t
Vermont Health Connect is a disaster. It’s a disaster even by the standards of other troubled state health care websites. And Green Mountain Care, its attempt at single payer, is an even bigger disaster. (via Ace)

Al Gobeille, the chair of the Green Mountain Care Board, says additional tax revenue will be needed in order to make a publicly-financed health care system affordable for all Vermonters.
And Gobeille says he won’t shy away from the challenge.
“That’s the question that everybody runs from, but I’ve never run from it,” said Gobeille. “It’s going to come from a tax, and the question is, ‘What is the best tax?’”
In about a month, the Shumlin Administration says it will release a menu of tax options that could be used to finance their single payer plan.
A menu of options. It’s like a restaurant except you pay for someone else’ lunch. How much menu tax options will it take?
As Vermont Watchdog reported, an independent report by the Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Avalere Health concluded that the costs of Green Mountain Care would require Vermont to raise tax revenue roughly equal to the state’s tax collections from all sources today.
Double taxes? Sure. People will love a 14 percent tax rate. Or raise the sales tax to 12 percent. No chance of that backfiring.
In a recent poll of Vermonters’ views on Shumlin’s single-payer plan, half of the respondents said they are not confident state government could effectively manage a universal health care system.
Or an outhouse.
Lawmakers on the House Ways and Means Committee, who are responsible for raising revenue, aren’t enamored with Shumlin’s proposal to double the claims assessment. They say it is a tax on insurers who will pass the cost on to customers through premiums.
Or a broken outhouse.
Rep. Cynthia Browning, D-Arlington, isn’t satisfied with Gov. Peter Shumlin’s decision to delay the presentation of financing options for single-payer to lawmakers before the end of the legislative session.
A fundamental premise of Green Mountain Care is to decouple health insurance from employment by paying for it with taxes instead of premiums.
It’s not just Republicans that are frustrated with Shumlin for not producing a financing plan, she said. There are Democrats who support single-payer, but want to know how the administration plans to pay for it.
Or a broken outhouse on fire.
“What health care needs is better organization and this provides the opportunity to do that,” Gobeille said.
“I feel beaten and battered,” said Susan Rixon, a frustrated consumer. “I feel like I have done everything I was supposed to do in this entire process and I’m still running into road blocks.”
I’m sure these folks will get single payer right. How could they not?

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