I would like to encourage the voters of Bennington and North Bennington to participate in the March 5 town and school meetings. In addition to budget requests, we will also be voting on several school board and select board seats.
The ballots are now available at the town clerk's office. The town clerk's office is open Monday through Friday 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. You may vote in person at the town clerk's office during regular business hours or have a ballot mailed. If you need a ballot mailed to you, you may call the town clerk's office at 802-442-1043. The deadline for voter registration is Feb. 27 at 5 p.m. Vermont state law allows anyone who wants to cast an early ballot to do so without giving any reason. Sample ballots for these elections can be found on our website httl2://www.benninjzton.com/town and clicking on Sample Ballots under the Elections category.
Voting for Bennington residents will be at the Firehouse at the corner of River and Lincoln Streets. For residents of North Bennington, voting will be at the North Bennington Village Trustees Office on the corner of Main and Depot Streets in North Bennington. The polls will be open from 7 a.m. to 7 p.m.
TIMOTHY R. CORCORAN
Bennington Vermont's Health Benefits Exchange is not single payer
Insurance offered through Vermont's Health Benefit Exchange is not part of Vermont's future Single Payer (SP). Required by the 2010 Federal CAA ("Obama-Care"), the Exchange sells private plans for those needing insurance. Also, Catamount and VHAP will cease and Medicaid will be offered there, to cover those needing insurance in 2014, three years before SP begins.
The exchange will not save money. It perpetuates America's profitable private insurance model. Insurance is mandatory; and the cost could be a hardship for the neediest, with insufficient subsidies, until SP begins. Private insurers as "middlemen" are in business to make profits for themselves and stockholders. They handle the money and billing. They do not provide health care.
Cost control is built into single payer's design. It will happen only if we rein in the profligacy of our wasteful mix of multiple insurers, equipment, drug companies and other profiteers. Costs are helping to bankrupt our depressed economy where many remain uninsured. However, for now the Exchange can cover most of the uninsured. It can also move means-tested low-income beneficiaries in and out of insurance plans, and may even can delay their re-insurance as their incomes fluctuate.
Single payer will provide uninterrupted coverage 24/7 independent of employment, for all citizens who lack insurance, for lower cost. SP serves many countries and is verified by expert analyses. America's Medicare and Veterans Affairs are variations of SP, though they need improvement. The GMC Board in designing Vermont's SP recognizes the need for more primary care providers and fewer specialists. It is restructuring health care organization and delivery, payment systems, etc. SP's very nature should also support medical professionalism which has been strained in today's business model that values profits over patients. Our talented professionals value patients above profits and need the support of a system that honors their ethics as health professionals.
MARGARET NEWTON, MD