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Vermont physicians work to preserve practice of private medicine

Vermont physicians work to preserve practice of private medicine
Apr 7, 2013
On Wednesday April 3, 2013, Vermont physicians held a press conference at the Vermont Capitol to speak out against the state’s looming single-payer health care system that will effectively end the ability of patients in the state to see a physician of their choice at a mutually agreeable price.

Dr. Robert Emmons issued the following statement:

Two weeks ago, the Vermont House announced its intention to regulate the private practice of medicine in Vermont out of existence. A bill designed to protect the right of patients to enter into private contracts with their doctors was voted down as a threat to the viability of Green Mountain Care.

The scientific evidence available does not demonstrate that the move from Big Insurance to Big Government will help physicians to take better care of their patients. When the state controls how doctors are paid, it opens the door for the state to use an elaborate system of financial rewards and punishments to manipulate the clinical decision-making of doctors. When the stateʼs central data base is up and running, with no opting out, the bond of trust between patient and doctor will be strained to the limit.

I believe we need private medicine in Vermont as an alternative for patients and doctors who expect the qualities of care that can be achieved within the framework of traditional clinical and ethical values. I believe we need private medicine in Vermont as a safety net for the inevitable failures of Green Mountain Care, whatever those failures may be.

I believe we need private medicine in Vermont as a way to test the validity of the optimistic claims made by the architects of Green Mountain Care. I think it is a terrible mistake to set up a system in which the mechanism of payment drives clinical decisions, and I will never practice in that kind of system. In private practice, the method of payment serves the clinical needs of individual patients. Because I am paid directly by my patients, I work for them and no one else.

Iʼm here today to make a request of my representatives in state government, journalists, and all of my neighbors. Before you create a system that has no room for my kind of medical practice, please speak directly to my colleagues and me, in depth, to find out what really happens in private practice.

Thank you to Vermonters for Health Care Freedom for their work to organize this event and promote solutions to empower patients and their physicians.

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