Human Rights Assessment Tool Given to Healthcare Reform Commission


On December 13, 2010, in anticipation of its last meeting before the legislature convenes, the Vermont Workers’ Center gave the Healthcare Reform Commission a copy of our healthcare human rights Assessment Tool. We also sent the commission members an email with the message set out below.

Dear Senator Kitchel and Representative Larson and other Healthcare Reform Commission Members:

At the next HCRC meeting, you will hear an update on the work being done by Dr. Hsiao and a report from the executive branch about the work being done to set up a state healthcare exchange. We write to advise you of our position on a state exchange and to introduce you to the Assessment Tool our campaign will be using to evaluate the healthcare system designs of Dr. Hsiao. Since many of you are on the legislative health care committees, we want to begin familiarizing you with this tool now.

We recently met with Deputy Commissioner Christine Oliver and her staff to discuss the work now being done to develop a Vermont healthcare exchange. Our campaign proposed that the department use any federal grants it has obtained for facilitating a constructive and integrated planning process of comprehensive health care reform in Vermont, which takes full account of the will of the people of Vermont expressed in Act 128. We urged the department to avoid using any federal grants to interfere with or foreclose opportunities presented by the legislatively mandated work of consultant Dr. Hsiao and his team. We called on the department to proceed carefully, transparently, and in full consultation with other planning processes underway. The Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign urged the department not to commit itself to setting up an exchange or any particular aspects of an exchange until the legislature acts on Act 128. We asked that the Administration work in tandem with the legislature and respect the democratically mandated process underway. As you know, Act 128 calls for the adoption of a healthcare system design that meets the human rights principles of universality, equity, transparency, accountability, and participation. In our meeting, we presented Deputy Commissioner Oliver with the attached Assessment Tool, which was developed by our campaign.

As you can see, this Assessment Tool is a series of questions that can be used to evaluate healthcare system designs for compliance with these principles in Act 128. The Healthcare is a Human Right campaign will use this tool to evaluate the three designs of Dr. Hsiao. We believe this Assessment Tool will also be useful to legislators in evaluating the various designs and to what extent each design meets these principles. We plan to meet with our legislative representatives to explain this tool and encourage use of it. We will also request an opportunity to testify to the health care committees about the assessment tool and our position on exchanges. We look forward to working with you this session.

Cassandra Edson, Healthcare is a Human Right campaign