Republican gubernatorial candidate Randy Brock is calling for major changes to Vermont’s regulatory system for health care.
Brock wants to dissolve the newly created Green Mountain Care Board because he says it’s members are unelected officials who aren’t accountable to anyone.
During the last session, lawmakers created a new 5 person board to oversee virtually every aspect of health care in Vermont.
The legislation consolidated many of the state’s regulatory agencies into one entity known as the Green Mountain Care Board.
The Board reviews hospital budgets, approves rate increases for private health insurance companies, and evaluates health care expansion projects.
It’s also designing a new payment system for health care providers and it’s responsible for setting up the consumer exchange that’s part of the federal Affordable Care Act.
Talking to reporters just outside the Central Vermont Medical Center, Brock said he thinks the Board has already determined that a Single Payer system would be good for Vermont without reviewing other options and he says the new system lacks accountability.
"We’ve essentially ceded the authority of the Legislature and of the government and of the people to oversee a sixth of our economy," said Brock. "By essentially giving almost unfettered and certainly in the United States unprecedented control to a five member board that has neither been elected nor is directly accountable to the public."
And Brock says the new system has serious flaws that need to be addressed.
"We’ve given them powers are that inherently contradictory and create significant I think conflicts of interest," said Brock. "We’ve created an organization that essentially writes the rules mandates the prices, enforces the rules, and then checks on and reports on the results relating thereto.
Governor Peter Shumlin says Brock’s comments clearly demonstrate the different vision for health care that the two of them have.
"The most important thing I can do as Governor is contain the cost of health care while delivering better quality and that’s what the Green Mountain Health Care Board is doing," said Shumlin. "I’m astonished that he would want to take away the one tool that is right now reducing costs in Vermont."
And Shumlin says there are no conflicts of interest in the Board’s work.
"Right now we have our hospitals and our health care providers in Vermont who do such an extraordinary job cooperating with the incredible capable Green Mountain Health Care Board to design a better health care system that’s going to deliver universal access and reduce the rising cost and it seems to me that the only one who doesn’t really want to get that done in this state is Randy Brock."
The disagreement over the Green Mountain Care Board highlights the basic philosophical difference between the two candidates on health care.
While Brock says the most effective way to reduce costs and provide universal access is to create greater competition in the private health insurance market, Shumlin says these goals can best be achieved by implementing a publicly financed single payer system as soon as possible.