The Mountain Times

°F Thu, April 24, 2014

Central Vermont's Most Popular Weekly Newspaper

Healthcare Debate Comes to Ludlow October 20

While we have been hearing sound bits from Montpelier and other power centers in the state about the impact of Act 48, aka Green Mountain Care, the legislation passed by the Legislature to enable a detailed study of single payer healthcare in Vermont, the folks in Ludlow decided it was time to get down to a fundamental examination of law.

FOLA (Friends of Ludlow Auditorium) is a group established to promote the beneficial use of the newly-restored Ludlow Town Hall Auditorium.  Normally the group promotes movies, concerts, and other community entertainment.

But, after hearing all the misunderstandings and misconceptions about Act 48, it decided that the Ludlow Auditorium would be an appropriate place to hold a forum addressing the implications and direct impact of the legislation.

So FOLA contacted all the leading proponents and opponents of Act 48, asking them to join in a forum that would examine the details of the law, its meanings to the average Vermonter, and the likelihood of what would happen to healthcare funding and delivery systems because of it.  In addition, the Rutland Herald agreed to cosponsor the event with FOLA.

Thursday, October 20 at 7 p.m. this forum will convene in the Ludlow Auditorium with six panelists representing the two sides of the issue. Stewart Ledbetter, a WPTZ/WNNE political commentator, will moderate the forum. It will be one of the first discussions in the state repreprenting both sides of the issue from people deeply involved in the debate.

The six member panel, three from each side of the issue, will consist of Steve Kappel, Dr. Deb Richter, State Senate President John Campbell, Bob Gaydos, Darcie Johnston and Wendy Wilton.  Kappel was involved in the detailed study leading up to the formulation of Act 48, Richter has been a long time advocate of a single payer system, and Campbell, as political leader in the Vermont Senate, directed the bill through the legislature. On the other side, Gaydos, a business consultant on human resources, and Johnston, also a consultant to business, both have led opposition to Act 48. Wilton prepared a detailed financial analysis of the funding for Act 48 that alleged the Act would increase the tax burden unfairly.

Recognizing that a number of people do not understand this complicated legislation, FOLA has decided to begin the forum with a PowerPoint presentation that outlineds the key points of Act 48.  To ensure that both the panel and audience started from a level playing field, the presentation was sent to the panel members and moderator for approval.  This will mean that the forum will start from a point of full agreement.

The panel, as in most political debates, will be subject to time limitations for responding to questions posed by both the moderator and the audience.

Some of the likely questions to be addressed include: 

What will the impact be for individuals currently covered by Medicare or other insurance programs?

Will this program support undocumented people residing in Vermont?

How will the program be managed?

What will the cost be to Vermonters?

How does the federal healthcare program fit into this?

Will healthcare suffer because of this legislation?

This forum on October 20 in Ludlow will be a rare opportunity for the public to learn about Act 48 and how it would affect them personally as well as the state moving forward.

For more information, call 802-228-7239.

Tagged: Ludlow Area, View from Ludlow, healthcare, FOLA