The Vermont Medical Society (VMS) overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution supporting a single-payer national health program, also known as Medicare for All, at its annual meeting on Saturday, Nov. 7.
The VMS, which represents 2,400 Vermont physicians and physician assistants, is only the second state medical society in the U.S. after Hawaii to formally endorse a national single-payer health care program.
The VMS resolution was introduced by Dr. Jane Katz Field, a pediatrician and vice president of the Vermont chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (VTPNHP).
“The need for universal single-payer health care has never been more urgent,” said Dr. Katz Field. “Thirty million Americans were already uninsured before the COVID-19 pandemic, and millions more continue to lose coverage as they lose their jobs. Today the Vermont Medical Society recognizes the need to move away from a broken health system that ties health care to employment, and towards a system of equitable and universal coverage.”
Support of a single-payer, national health program
As adopted at the VMS Annual Meeting on November 7, 2020
BE IT RESOLVED that the Vermont Medical Society express its support for universal access to comprehensive, affordable, high-quality health care through a single-payer national health program; and be it further
RESOLVED that the Vermont Medical Society will support a national health program provided it meets these core criteria and principles:
a) Promotes universal, equitable coverage for all US residents (regardless of immigration status);
b) Provides comprehensive and high quality coverage for all medically necessary or appropriate services, including inpatient and outpatient hospital care, primary and preventive care, long-term care, mental health and substance use disorder treatment, dental, vision, audiology, prescription drug and medical devices, comprehensive reproductive care (including maternity and newborn care, and abortion),
c) Prioritizes affordability for all, including: no cost sharing ( no premiums, copays or deductibles), a ban on investor-owned health care facilities, and prescription drug prices to be negotiated directly with manufacturers;
d) Reimburses physicians and health care practitioners in amounts that are sufficient, fair, predictable, transparent and sustainable, while incentivizing primary care;
e) Allows for collective participation by physicians and other practitioners in negotiating rates and program policies;
f) Promotes global operating budgets for hospitals, nursing homes and other providers. Continues to move away from fee-for-service reimbursement models to more flexible payment models that incentivize better outcomes and more coordinated care;
g) Allocates capital funds for hospitals separately from operating budgets;
h) Eliminates the role of private health insurance companies, thereby greatly reducing administrative costs and burdens on clinicians;
i) Allocates funding for graduate medical education that assures adequate supply of generalists and specialists
j) Reforms medical school costs to reduce the amount of debt recent graduates face;
k) Protects the rights of healthcare and insurance workers with guaranteed retraining and job placement;
l) Provides high quality software (EMRs) developed in public sector and provided free to all practitioners;
m) Creates a legal environment that fosters high quality patient care and relieves clinicians from practicing defensive medicine; and
n) Is funded through a publicly financed system, based on combining administrative savings and the current sources of public funding, with modest new taxes based on individual’s ability to pay