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Single-payer bill passes out of committee 5-0

first_imgby Anne Galloway, vtdigger.org April 14, 2011 The Senate Health and Welfare Committee passed a new version of the single-payer health care bill out of committee Wednesday on a 5-0 vote. The unanimous decision was made shortly after the senators also agreed to incorporate amendments from two conservative senators on the committee, Senator Hinda Miller, D-Chittenden, (pictured) and Senator Kevin Mullin, R-Rutland, into the bill.The groundbreaking legislation, which was drafted by the Shumlin administration and passed by an overwhelming margin in the House creates an overarching vision for a single-payer system that would go live in 2017 ‘ and only then if the state is granted a waiver from the federal government.The bill, H.202, sets up the five member Green Mountain Care board that will make recommendations to the Legislature. The board is charged with determining what the common benefit package will look like for patients; how doctors and hospitals will be compensated; and how the system will be financed.The proposed legislation also lays the foundation for the state’s federally mandated insurance ‘exchange,’ which would go into effect in 2014.Read the 1.3 version of H.202. http://www.leg.state.vt.us/jfo/healthcare/H_202_SH&W_Strike-all_amendmen(link is external)…Members of Governor Peter Shumlin’s administration said they were pleased with the compromise legislation, which includes language that businesses lobbied for, including a provision that will allow more than one insurer to offer health care plans under the federal health care exchange.Shumlin campaigned on a single-payer health care system, and as of last week, it appeared that the governor and his special assistant on health care, Anya Rader Wallack, had lost the support of some businesses, particularly large corporations, like Biotek, IBM, Dealer.com and Rhino Foods.IBM, Vermont Country Store and about a dozen businesses represented by the Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Fleischer Jacobs Group and Business Resource Specialists held back-to-back meetings with Shumlin last Friday in an attempt to change H.202. The governor asked the companies to support the plan and help the state save money; the business groups pushed back and insisted on changes to undercut the bill. Business leaders, coached on effective legislative communication, also buttonholed lawmakers on Wednesday and Thursday.On Wednesday, lawmakers attempted to win businesses back with changes to the bill that Miller introduced an amendment to the bill that requires the Green Mountain Care board to consider the impact of the financing system for the universal health care plan on the state’s economy and its bond rating. In addition, the board is required to review the impact of any tax system changes as a result of the health care plan, ‘in circumstances under which a particular tax change may result in double payments, such as premiums and tax obligations.’Bill Shouldice, a lobbyist representing a number of the businesses that objected to the original plan, said self-insured companies are still worried about their rights under the ERISA law.‘They’ve recognized there are flaws in the bill, but they are only partially addressing them,’ Shouldice said. Businesses, he said, need the comfort in knowing what the whole plan will look like.Dr. Deb Richter, a single-payer advocate, said it’s a ‘good compromise and it puts all the checks and balances in place.’The state’s hospitals embrace elements of the bill, namely the Vermont Blueprint for Health; investments in electronic health records and the creation of payment reform pilots, according to Bea Grause, president and CEO of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems.The association continues, however, to take issue, however, with the state’s fiscal year 2012 budget.‘The budget ‘contains costs’ through cuts to doctors and hospitals yet H.202 aims to create fair and sustainable payment to these very same providers,’ Grause said in a statement. ‘The promises the state is making for tomorrow do not align with the reality of how the state underpays providers today. We already know that a health care system funded at current Medicaid levels is not what Vermonters want. The Vermont State Hospital is ample proof of that.’ Anne Galloway is editor of vtdigger.orglast_img read more

McCoskrie: Euthanasia – we don’t need it

first_imgManukau Courier 30 November 2016Family First Comment: The Manukau Courier kindly gave us the opportunity to respond to Louisa Wall’s piece promoting assisted suicide. OPINION: Opposing euthanasia does not mean that a person opposes compassion.Patients facing death have a fundamental human right – a right to receive the very best palliative care, love and support that we can give to alleviate the ‘intolerable suffering’ that they fear. This is real death with dignity. Assisting suicide is not the answer.Assisted suicide would place large numbers of vulnerable people at risk – in particular those who are depressed, elderly, sick, disabled, those experiencing chronic illness, limited access to good medical care, and those who feel themselves to be under emotional or financial pressure to request early death.Patients, even those without a terminal illness, may come to feel euthanasia would be “the right thing to do”, they have “had a good innings”, and they do not want to be a “burden” to their nearest and dearest. It won’t be about the ‘right to die’ but the ‘duty to die’.Those concerned about the rights of people with disabilities are right to be concerned. A disability rights group in NZ said “There are endless ways of telling disabled people time and time again that their life has no value.”One of the countries to decriminalise euthanasia has been the Netherlands. Professor Theo Boer was a member of the Dutch Regional Euthanasia Commission for nine years, during which he was involved in reviewing 4,000 cases. He admitted to being a strong supporter of euthanasia and argued that there was no slippery slope. However, by 2014 he had a complete change of mind. He said “Whereas in the first years after 2002 hardly any patients with psychiatric illnesses or dementia appear in reports, these numbers are now sharply on the rise. Cases have been reported in which a large part of the suffering of those given euthanasia or assisted suicide consisted in being aged, lonely or bereaved. Some of these patients could have lived for years or decades.”The majority of the medical profession and national medical associations around the world have been resolutely against the introduction of voluntary euthanasia or physician-assisted suicide.Euthanasia would also send a conflicting message to young people and our communities about suicide and the value of life.One of the main reasons that politicians in NZ have rejected previous attempts to decriminalise euthanasia is that they realised that the safeguards, while sounding good, would not guarantee the protection required for vulnerable people including the disabled, elderly, depressed or anxious, and those who feel themselves to be a burden or are under financial pressure.The international evidence backs up these concerns, and explains why so few countries have made any changes to the law around this issue.We simply need to ensure a palliative care regime in NZ that is fully funded and world class. That’s where the politicians’ focus should be.– Bob McCoskrie is the National Director of Family First and a Manurewa resident. Go to manukaucourier.co.nz to read Manurewa MP Louisa Wall’s perspective on her Authorised Dying Bill.http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/manukau-courier/87019781/mccoskrie-euthanasia–we-dont-need-itWall: Giving people a choice in their deathManukau Courier 30 November 2016OPINION: In June 2015 in the High Court at Wellington Justice Collins decided that Lecretia Seales’ doctor would be likely to be prosecuted under the Crimes Act if she helped her to die, and that New Zealand’s Bill of Rights Act does not provide for assisted dying.Justice Collins stated in conclusion that –“Although Ms Seales has not obtained the outcomes she sought, she has selflessly provided a forum to clarify important aspects of New Zealand law.  The complex legal, philosophical, moral and clinical issues raised by Ms Seales’ proceedings can only be addressed by Parliament passing legislation to amend the effect of the Crimes Act.”Therefore, on 18 November 2016 at the Health Select Committee hearing on the petition of Hon. Maryan Street and 8,974 others, Professor Mark Henaghan and I tabled an Authorised Dying Bill that we have been working on since the High Court decision.The Authorised Dying Bill proposes a legal process for an application to be made to an independent ethics committee by a mentally competent adult who has been diagnosed with a terminal illness and is expected to die within 12 months.  The ethics committee would be comprised of experts in diagnostic medicine, psychiatry, ethics, Maori tikanga, disability, elderly care and law.  The applicant must have been fully informed of all options in respect of their terminal illness and the ethics committee is provided with their full medical records.  It is then for the committee to determine whether to grant approval and to determine the appropriate procedure to carry out that approval.  It is a process that allows a person facing death to have an option of choosing the manner and time of that death.An ethical question this process seeks to address is can society do harm to a person with a terminal illness who is facing death by allowing them to choose when and how they die with the support of an authorised medical practitioner?READ MORE: http://www.stuff.co.nz/auckland/local-news/manukau-courier/87019852/wall-giving-people-a-choice-in-their-deathlast_img read more

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