Vermont healthcare system seen as model for national reform efforts.

USA Today (7/28, Hall) reports on the healthcare policies implemented by the “healthcare overhaul Vermont passed in 2006. … Vermont has ‘one of the most innovative models of prevention and care coordination in the country,’ one that could be a guide for Congress as it debates an overhaul to the nation’s healthcare system, says Kenneth Thorpe of the Partnership to Fight Chronic Disease.” The piece compares Vermont’s system with that of Massachusetts, which “includes a costly mandate that nearly every resident have insurance, paid for by employers, insurers, and taxpayers.” Vermont “took a different route. Officials decided they couldn’t afford to cover everyone, so they focused on cutting costs and improving care, with the goal of insuring more people. They won over critics in the Legislature and the public by not raising taxes. Instead, the state convinced insurance companies and hospitals to kick in. The federal government gave Vermont flexibility in how to spend Medicaid dollars.”

The problem with Vermont is that insurance is very expensive. There are very good wellness initiatives in Vermont. Does the short term investment yield savings? We will see.

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