Vermont Concurrence Page (2024)
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Table of Contents
- What LWV of Vermont has done, is doing
- Proposed Concurrence Statement
- Why Support this Concurrence
- Three Ways your League can Support this Concurrence
- State and Local Leagues that Support this Concurrence
- Pros/Cons of Proposed Concurrence
- Learn More: Context and Studies
- LWV VT Concurrence WEBINAR Feb 8, 24
- Frequently Asked Questions FAQs
The League of Women Voters of Vermont (LWVVT) would like your League to support their request to have a discussion of their privatization position on the recommended agenda for the LWV National Convention in Washington, DC, this June. If in the discussion, the new provisions in the Vermont privatization position are received favorably, LWVVT further proposes that the delegates should vote whether to “concur” –to ADD provisions from the new Vermont position to “UPDATE the LWVUS position by Concurrence. “
What is a concurrence? You can check what the League means by “Concurrence” at this Glossary adapted from the 2009 “League Basics”, or with our elaboration of the terms and how they affect our advocacy here.
WHY: The League of Women Voters of Vermont believes that the national position on privatization is not sufficient to support the advocacy needed to protect our health care resources. We see two major issues preventing us from achieving League priorities:
- The LWVUS position does not include health care as a public good, even though the LWVUS Meeting Basic Human Needs position includes health care as a basic human need for which government should bear the financial responsibility for those unable to afford it themselves,.
- The LWVUS position includes clear criteria for choosing whether to privatize a public good, but the position did not address what should be done if a private entity providing a public good failed to meet those criteria.
Further, the national position was created in 2012. Much has changed and much has been learned since then. So we felt the need for a fresh study of privatization and, perhaps, a new state position to supplement the national position.
Questions motivating our study:
- Is Health Care a Public Good? Is it a Private Good?
- Can free market rules support equitable provision of health care to all residents?
- If for-profit corporations and private equity firms do not deliver on promises to provide equivalent quality health care at lower cost than publicly-funded programs, is it reasonable to continue contracting with them?
Note that, as with the LWVUS position on Privatization, the Vermont study group had in mind that the principles governing privatization also applied in other domains, for example, privatized jails, private schools that used public money, and other.
What the LWV of Vermont has done, is doing
After months of study and a consensus meeting, the League of Women Voters of Vermont Board of Directors approved a new position embodying these responses to their study questions:
- Yes, Health Care fits several definitions of a Public Good.
- No, free market rules do not support equitable provision of health care to all residents nor to all locations.
- No, it is not reasonable to continue contracting with for-profit corporations and private equity firms who fail to fulfill the terms of their contracts for delivering universal health care. As it says in the LWVUS position, provision and process should be set out at the time of the contract for returning the assets to the public. However, the LWVUS position is not explicit as to what should happen when corporations do not deliver on the terms of their contracts.
Then, at a special convention, members voted unanimously to adopt the position.
Vermont’s new state position allows them to not just educate but also advocate at the local and state levels. However, they state, “We still cannot adequately address the privatization of Medicare because it is a federal program, and advocacy at the national level requires a national position.”
For this reason, and also to allow League members across the country to benefit from the work of our study, Vermont is proposing an update to the national privatization position by adding the language of our state position via concurrence, and we are asking for your help in proposing it.
Proposed Concurrence Statement (and Current LWVUS Position)
- Vermont Concurrence Statement (footnote explains the tiny differences from the adopted position)
- Current LWVUS Position on Privatization
- Link to new Position on LWVVT website
Three ways your League can help get our new privatization position on the Convention agenda, click here
New VIDEO (from 2/8/24) presentation for LWV-CO by Betty Keller, MD of LWVVT “What does LWV Vermont Want to Do?” Youtube link. Additional information (and time stamps identified) in the description field below the video.
New VIDEO (2/14/24)–5-minute clip walking you through the directions for filling out the Program Planning Survey. See the context for it at the “Critical Steps – How to Help” page.
The information in FAQ #2 may also be helpful when filling out the survey.
State and Local Leagues that Support this Concurrence
As of 2/24 – 29
- LWV Vermont
- LWV Port Washington-Manhasset (NY)
- LWV Amherst (MA)
- LWV of the Cape Cod Area (MA)
- LWV NW Maricopa County (AZ)
- LWV Davis Area (CA)
- LWV Kentucky
- (See more…)
Pros and Cons for the proposal submission (seeking your comments)
Learn More: Context and Studies
- Green Mountain Citizen Newsletter Fall 2023 (abridged) (download pdf)
- LWV4US Newsletter December 2023 (download pdf)
- LWVUS Current Privatization Position (2022-2024) (download pdf)
- Videos on Privatization of Health Care —
- LWV VT Privatization of Medicare — 2/6/23
- PNHP-NY Metro: How Private Equity Makes Us Sicker — 18 Oct 2022
- CNYH: If we ran fire departments like we run healthcare — 2022 — 2 minutes
- PNHP: Exposing the Profiteers Behind Medicare Reach — 2023
- Robert Reich: This One Thing Is Making Your Life More Expensive — 2023 — 5 minutes
- Dr. Glaucomflecken: The Future of Medicine — 2023 — 2.5 minutes
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1. Why do we need a new position on privatization? Isn’t the LWVUS current position adequate?
A1. The issue is that the current position is open to more than one interpretation. For example, one might interpret it as not including “health care” (just “public health”) in the list of essential services that should not be privatized. Read more…
Q2. How many other program items, in addition to Making Democracy Work, can a League propose on the survey?
A2. There is room for as many as 5 additional program items, if they are succinctly worded. There are 2 questions (#11 and #16) where the survey provides response boxes for 300 words max. Read more...
Q3. Do you propose that the Vermont update replace the LWVUS position?
A3. No, the current position remains in force. We can’t eliminate a position, but we can add elements like those Vermont felt it needed to add. Read more…
Q4. Is the proposed update intended to add to the LWVUS Health Care position (under Social Policy)? or the Privatization position under “Representative Government?
A4. This proposed update is to the LWVUS Position on Privatization. It will not affect the Health Care Position. In fact, Vermont felt emphatically that the Health Care position would not be the appropriate location for the update.. Read more…
Q5. Is it your position that there should be no private options available at all?
A5. Not at all.
I would also like to remind you that Positions do not require action. If you don’t feel that profit motives and outcomes are a problem for public goods in your state, you would work on other concerns. This position only empowers League members to advocate invoking the name of the League, instead of just educating, where you feel there is a problem or potential for a problem. For health care, Read more…
Q6. Without definitions, and descriptions of the process for taking control of currently and historically private health services, would we be inadvertently manipulated into supporting a move that was unintended?
For example, couldn’t an administration (state or federal) that is unfriendly to women’s reproductive health services–which are currently delivered and have always been through the private sector–introduces a state or federal bill accusing such services of “failing to deliver” using bogus criteria–the waiting times for appointments are too long, it is not handicap accessible, etc. They could argue that the LWV agrees (!), due to the League’s new deprivatization concurrence
A6. In this regard, we might distinguish “historically private health services” from those turned over to private hands by the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Sevices by contract. (Medicare and Medicaid are two of the most prominent examples.) Private corporations were given the contracts on the basis that they would save CMS (and taxpayers) money with no loss in quality or equity–and they haven’t lived up to their contracts, ie. they have failed to deliver. Read more…
Q7. What are the criteria for “failing to deliver”?
A7. Criteria that speak to this are found in the current LWVUS position; the VT position merely operationalizes what had been envisioned. It clearly provides consequences for failing to live up to the considerations–namely that “the services or assets will be returned to the government.” Read more…
Topics still under discussion – seeking your comments
Several sections of the Concurrence submission required by the LWVUS Bylaws are still being tweaked and are open for your input–please. For example, the Pros and Cons document (linked above) still feels stilted to some members of the Update Committee; the “cons” especially do not feel authentic. So we are looking for people who do not agree with adopting the new position more broadly to send us their opinions.
Please use the linked webform for comments and suggestions, or send an email to the Update-email below.
Please contact us for Concurrence questions and comments: email@example.com