Catamount Health, One Year Out

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We check in on Catamount Health, Vermont’s program to provide health care coverage to the uninsured, as it enters its second year of operation. And we explore the program’s prospects for the future in the face of falling state revenues and economic hard times.

Health care outreach worker Peter Sterling talks about his experience traveling the state enrolling applicants in the program and improvements he’d like to see. (Listen)

State Senator Doug Racine discusses how the program can be made more sustainable in a time of radical budget cuts, and Craig Fuller, who represents employers in the state, talks about why this program may not be sustainable in the long run. (Listen)

Also on the program, Candace Page gives us an update on Vermont’s Endangered Species list. (Listen)

And we take you to Morrisville for the Green Mountain Curling Club’s monthly Learn-to-Curl Clinic. (Listen)

AP PHOTO by Toby Talbot


Curling Clubs in the region:

CANADA, Just north of Rouses Pt: Lacolle,
CANADA, Just north of Highgate: Bedford
CANADA, Just north of Newport: Border

VT: Green Mountain Curling Club
VT: Rutland
VT: Woodstock (Union Arena)

NH: Nashua (country club)

NY: Albany CC
NY: Schenectady CC
NY: Lake Placid

MASS: South of Brattleboro: Petersham
MASS: Boston: Broomstones




Kat from Hartford
Today’s show included an undisputed claim (aside from Jane’s questions) that primary care doesn’t save money. There is actually research documenting that spending on primary care does indeed lower overall healthcare costs. The Dartmouth Institute just across the border would be a good source. Please contact them to counter this dangerous misconception.


From Jeremy in Danville
t seems very odd that your guests would compare insurance of human life to insurance of a burning house. It seems we should be covering any Vermonters’ health insurance whether or not their condition is pre-existing. The idea is to get them help that they can afford. If they can’t, we end up paying for it anyway.


From Jeanne Keller in Burlington (Keller is a health policy consultant)

The law prohibits insurers from refusing to cover you because of a
pre-existing condition, but allows imposition of a waiting period once you are covered before the condition will be paid for.
Catamount has a waiting period that is within the limits set by state law.


From Matthew in Lincoln

Short term solutions for the state of Vermont:: tax those earning $250,000 peryear and more at a higher rate; increase the gas tax by 10 cents a gallon until gas hits $3.50 a gallon. Federal, long term solution: – reduce military budget and spend more on health care, education, alternative energy and mass transit


From Annie in South Burlington

Has the State studied the cost impact of voluntary coverage versus mandatory coverage?
The problem with voluntary coverage is adverse selection. Healthy, and particularly young healthy people, tend to elect out because they don’t perceive the need for health are and choose not to spend the money. These individuals are important for nrollment because they help share the cost of less healthy individuals.


From Karen in Montpelier

As a self-employed person, I currently have a high deductible insurance plan through my local chamber of commerce. Because of the high deductible and my $330 a month premium, I can’t afford to get medical care that I need! It’s outrageous. One of our state representatives.recently suggested to me that I switch to the $10,000 deductible plan for 6 months, at which point I can apply to Catamount.

I have two worries: The first is that Catamount will collapse or the requirements will change, once again excluding me. The other concern is that I might have a serious and expensive medical need in the next six months.


From Marc in Hinesburg-

In an advanced and enlightened society, basic healthcare should be a
human right. The discussion of who gets what absolutely must happen, and the sooner the better. It’s obviously impossible for everyone to get
everything they want — except, of course, for the wealthy.

We also absolutely must discuss direct personal responsibility. If I
make a poor health choice — smoking, motorcycling without a helmet,
etc. — then I should be responsible for that choice; no one else.

Finally, this is absolutely the wrong time to be discussing still
more cuts to what few safety nets remain, when so many of us are
already falling through.


From Michelle in Vershire

I am self employed in central Vermont, and I applied for Catamount, but I was enied because I currently have insurance. However, I can’t really afford to continue that insurance. I would need to be uninsured for 12 months before I’m eligible for Catamount. My opinion is that the Catamount system is too limited in its scope and should be available to hard working, self employed folks such as myself


From Dave in Burlington

I have been on Catamount the past few months and I love having it, but
my major problem is that Catamount needs to embrace the 21st century. They do ot take applications online; they do not process payments online; they do not rocess payments over the phone. In fact they only do correspondence by mail. t would make sense for them to offer online applications and online support.


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