200 docs from 39 states say they would move to Vermont if single payer is adopted

March 22, 2011

Peggy Carey, M.D., Vermont Physicians for a National Health Program
[email protected]
Deborah Richter, M.D., Vermont for Single Payer
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.


Physicians for a National Health Program (www.pnhp.org) is an organization of 18,000 physicians who advocate for single-payer national health insurance, an improved Medicare for all. To speak with a physician/spokesperson in your area, visit www.pnhp.org/stateactions or call (312) 782-6006 begin_of_the_skype_highlighting              (312) 782-6006      end_of_the_skype_highlighting begin_of_the_skype_highlighting (312) 782-6006 end_of_the_skype_highlighting.

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  • barb morrow

    This is tremendous news. Vermont has a lot to offer young physician families – lots of arts and cultural experiences, the rural lifestyle, plenty of fine educational options for kids, two major teaching hospitals within driving distance of the entire population.

    I asked my physican if he’d lower his bill to the prevailing medicaid level because my spouse is unemployed. He tore the bill up and said, This is a hellava system. He wants to practice medicine, make a decent living, and stop having to deal with oppressive insurance overhead and demands that he see 3 patients every 15 minutes.

    I’m proud of Vermont. So many great reasons to live here.

  • walter carpenter

    So many docs are leaving the practice because of the insurance problems. Several I know are quitting it; one is hanging on until retirement age and then is closing up. He’s fed up. My doc is fit to be tied over it. He’s tired of cranking out patients as if they are on an assembly line. This is great news.

  • Sara Cawston

    Way to go Vermont! Clearly the system we have is seriously broken. A single payer system works in so many other countries and the fact that the richest country in the world has so many uninsured is almost criminal. Vermont you rock! Let us just hope that the legislators have the strength and character to vote in favor of single payer. Let us set the example to the rest of the country.

  • Barbara Power

    At long last we are seeing real forward motion toward social justice in health care. Vermonters are courageous to take this huge step and be the first to stand up for reform. We all need to support this great initiative with calls, letters, blogs, and the upcoming Rally in Montpelier on March 26th !! Students can see the future and they want JUSTICE!

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