More Than 200 Doctors Contemplate Moving to Vermont if it Adopts Single-Payer Health System

For Immediate Release

Contact: 

Peggy Carey, M.D., Vermont Physicians for a National Health Program
Deborah Richter, M.D., Vermont for Single Payer
Plus physicians available for interview in 26 states via Mark Almberg, PNHP, (312) 782-6006, mark@pnhp.org

More Than 200 Doctors Contemplate Moving to Vermont if it Adopts Single-Payer Health System

‘Doctors want to practice medicine, not push paper,’ says Dr. Peggy Carey

BURLINGTON, VT - A local affiliate of a national physicians’ group says it has collected the names of more than 200 doctors from 39 states and the District of Columbia who say they would seriously consider moving to Vermont if it were to adopt a publicly financed, single-payer health care system.

Many of the doctors are primary care physicians, who are in great demand in the state.

While most of these physicians reside in nearby states, doctors from as far away as California, Oregon and Washington state – and even Hawaii – would contemplate moving to the Green Mountain State if it adopted a single-payer, improved-Medicare-for-all system, said Dr. Peggy Carey, interim chairperson of the Vermont chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (PNHP).

Another 54 doctors-in-training, medical students, from around the country have said they’d also consider such a move, Carey said. She pointed to a regional medical student rally set for this Saturday afternoon, March 26, at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier as further evidence of health-professional support for a single-payer system. Sen. Bernie Sanders and Gov. Peter Shumlin are among the speakers, she said.

One of the out-of-state doctors who would consider relocating is Scott Graham, a family physician in Marion, Ky. “I would certainly consider moving to Vermont if it passed single payer,” he said. “The idea of having one set of rules, one form for billing, and knowing that all patients are covered – that would be wonderful.”

Another is Dr. Jennifer Voorhees of Philadelphia, who said, “After I complete my family medicine residency, I would welcome practicing anywhere where there were no private, for-profit insurance companies and where everyone had access to health care.”

Yet another is Dr. Corinne Kalser, a hospitalist in Lakeville, Conn., who said, “I would definitely consider relocating. I am fed up with the way things are going, and if Vermont goes with single payer we will have half a chance – or at least one-fiftieth! – to change the national picture, too.”

Dr. Deb Richter, a family physician in Montpelier, is a leader of Vermont for Single Payer. She said: “It’s particularly encouraging to hear from primary care doctors around the country who say they would consider moving here if we had single payer. It would help alleviate a growing shortage of these physicians in our state and assure a good foundation for providing quality to care to all Vermonters.”

Carey, a family physician in Burlington, said: “It’s not surprising that physicians would consider relocating to a state that offered the kind of hassle-free environment that a publicly financed, single-payer system would create. Doctors are fed up with private insurance company dictates and the heavy load of unnecessary paperwork the insurers impose on our medical practices.”

“Like everyone else, doctors are also alarmed skyrocketing costs,” she said. “Every day they see the financial barriers to health care faced not only by uninsured Vermonters, but also by Vermonters who may have coverage but whose insurance policies include huge deductibles, co-pays and uncovered services.”

“Removing the costly middleperson in our state’s health system – the private insurers – and replacing them with a streamlined, nonprofit financing mechanism is the only way to assure high-quality, comprehensive, affordable and sustainable care for all Vermonters,” she said.

As further evidence of physician support for a single-payer plan, Carey pointed to the Jan. 27 "house call" at the Statehouse that featured about 50 doctors who described the difficulties faced by Vermonters in getting the care they need and how a single-payer system would remedy this problem. She also cited a study in the April 2008 edition of the Annals of Internal Medicine, which showed that 59 percent of U.S. physicians now favor government action to establish national health insurance, a jump of 10 percentage points from only five years before.

The link to the document that physicians signed, an "Open Letter to the Vermont Legislature," appears here: http://www.pnhp.org/vermont/sign.php

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Physicians for a National Health Program is a single issue organization advocating a universal, comprehensive single-payer national health program. PNHP has more than 15,000 members and chapters across the United States.

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