by Hamilton E. Davis
State Senator Anthony Pollina got some media attention recently with his recommendation Governor Shumlin base his single payer health care reform initiative on the insurance system now in place for state employees.
Pollina, a Progressive, told VPR’s Bob Kinzel that using the VSEA platform would be much simpler than setting up a whole new management operation for the envisioned Green Mountain Care; it might also avoid the kind of problems that have hamstrung the federal financed Exchange.
What Pollina didn’t tell VPR is that just extending the VSEA plan would add a cool $288 million to the already very high estimate of more than $2 billion to get to single payer. According to Michael Costa, Shumlin’s finance designer, that would be the cost of shifting from the tentative Shumlin plan to have the state pay 87 percent of a patient’s costs to the VSEA level that pays 94 percent of those costs.
A comment: with less than three months to go until the legislature begins to grapple with the Shumlin plan, it’s important that players such as Pollina stay somewhere in the vicinity of reality land. Ignoring a 14 percent bump in an already high number doesn’t meet the standard.