Parties differ on effectiveness of health care reform

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(Host) The top officials of Vermont’s major political parties have very different points of view concerning the effectiveness of health care reform efforts passed by lawmakers this Spring.

Speaking last night on VPR’s Switchboard program, the officials disagreed about the impact that “Catamount Health” will have on efforts to control costs. The law will provide state subsidies to uninsured Vermonters to help make insurance premiums more affordable.

Democratic Party chairman Ian Carleton says the plan represents a solid first step in providing universal health care coverage:

(Carleton) “It is a very very strong first step. It in fact does have components of it that will control costs. It reorganizes the way in which chronic care is provided, which I think is appealing to everybody in all 3 major political parties. It is the beginning.”

(Host) Progressive Party chairman Anthony Pollina doubts that the new law will have much of an impact – he wants Vermont to adopt a single payer health care plan.

(Pollina) “It’s going to do nothing to lower the ever escalating health care costs of folks who actually are trying to afford health insurance. Covering the uninsured is good. Lowering the costs of health care is really the long term goal.”

(Host) Republican Party chairman Jim Barnett says a number of GOP lawmakers voted against Catamount Health because they’re concerned about where the debate over health care is going to lead.

(Barnett) “The Governor thinks it was a good step forward but it has a lot of flaws a lot of Republicans believe it’s a slippery slope to a single payer government run health care system that will require massive amounts of tax increases.”

(Host) The health coverage provisions of the new law will go into effect in about a year.

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