In an oddly timed press release almost certain to assure underplay in Vermont media outlets, Randy Brock a few minutes ago unveiled the health care proposal he’s been promising since early June.
We anticipated a glitzy, glamorous rollout for the plan, which is, very broadly speaking, a free-market alternative to the single-payer system favored by Gov. Peter Shumlin. Or at least a press conference, to draw TV cameras and front-page headlines, which he easily could have gotten.
Instead, “The Brock Health Care Vision: A 100% Solution,” rolled in unannounced to reporters’ inboxes at a time when many might have already called it a day.
Hard to make heads or tails of the strategy yet, but Brock obviously isn’t looknig to make this plan the cornerstone of his campaign.
A quick scan of the six-page proposal shows about what Brock had telegraphed: drive down costs by luring more private insurance companies intoVermont. Making them compete for residents’ business, the theory goes, will force them drop their costs.
Critics, of course, say this approach will only erode the quality of the product, and exacerbate the “underinsurance” problem already plaguing the health care system.
Brock says Shumlin’s plan will “lead to rationing through global budgets” and “discourage physicians and dentists from moving toVermont,” among other bad things.
Brock’s plan, fashioned with help from a team of advisors, would allow Vermonters to purchase plans from any state in New England. He also wants to lure more insurance companies into the state by undoing what he says are “unreasonable legal and regulatory restraints.”
Brock also wants to change the rules governing what is known as “community rating,” a mandate that forces insurance companies to fold very low-risk and very high-risk policyholders into the same risk pool. Community rating aims to level out price points, meaning young, healthy people pay more in order to make things affordable for older, sicker patients.
Under the federal Affordable Care Act, private insurers can charge high-risk customers triple what a low-risk consumer would pay for the same policy. Vermont law, however, requires far greater pricing equity. Dropping Vermont’s standards in favor of the more lenient allowances under federal law, Brock said, would bring premiums to within financial reach of a wider swath of the middle class.
He said he would institute a variety of mechanisms to help older, higher-risk people absorb the resulting spike in their premiums.
You can check out the full plan by visiting http://randybrock.com/health-care.
Check out Sunday’s editions of The Times Argus and Rutland Herald for an analysis.