Doctors Raise Concerns About Vermont Health Care Reforms

Apr 4, 2013

Credit 401(K)2012/Flickr

A group of physicians opposed to Vermont’s move to create a single-payer health care system is warning that planned changes could drive practitioners out of the state.

Vermonters for Health Care Freedom hosted a group of doctors and providers at the Statehouse who say their right to contract with patients is being threatened by health care reforms planned by the Green Mountain Care Board. Dr. Robert Emmons, a psychiatrist, says the state is moving toward a factory-based system of delivering care.

Emmons also believes that the state’s financing mechanism does not account for what actually happens in a doctor’s office.

Vermont Health Care Reform Director Robin Lunge finds some of the opponents’ arguments confusing. Lunge says the law is crafted to assure that both patients and providers are protected.

John McClaughry, vice president of the right-leaning Ethan Allen Institute, believes the Green Mountain Care Board has the power to regulate private contracts between individuals and their doctors out of existence.

But Vermont Public Interest Research Group Executive Director Paul Burns says the new system is the best way to make health care available to everyone.

An article published Thursday in the New England Journal of Medicine praises Vermont's heath care reform efforts. Dr. Laura Grubb of the University of Texas School of Public Health says Vermont is “well ahead” of other states and in a leadership position in implementing changes required  under the federal Affordable Care Act.