Former Human Services Secretary Urges State to Develop Budget for Health Care Services

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According to former Human Services Secretary Con Hogan, it’s critical for the state of Vermont to develop an overall budget for health care services if efforts to control costs in the future are going to be successful. Speaking Tuesday night on VPRs Switchboard program, Hogan said he thinks the state should adopt a publicly financed system that provides universal access to health care.

Hogan says this type of system would help reduce the unsustainable growth rate in health care spending:

(Hogan)”First of all you’d have a budget. We have budgets in every part of our lives, in our households, in our schools. But health care – we do not have a budget. So in effect what we’ve unleashed here is a never-ending cycle of cost increases. I’d also set targets for the future. We don’t set targets. We forecast and the forecasts are terrible.”

Hogan also says this type of system would save the state of Vermont hundreds of millions of dollars every year in administrative expenses – this is money he says could be used for the delivery of health care services.

(Hogan) “The next thing I would think about as a CEO is, if I had a system that was running somewhere between 24 and 31 percent of administrative costs, and my shareholders learned about that, they’d turn me out. We are wasting, and that begins to creep over into the moral side on this with the number of uninsured we have. But we are wasting hundreds of millions of dollars in unnecessary administrative costs.”

Hogan says he used to support incremental steps to achieve universal access in Vermont but he says the rapid increase in health care costs over the past few years has convinced him that bolder steps are now needed.

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