New Green Mountain Care Board member discusses Vermont health care challenges

The Green Mountain Care Board was created by the Vermont Legislature in 2011 and is responsible for the quality of the state’s health care systems and affordability for customers. The board tests new ways to fund and deliver health care to build a more efficient system, and it works closely with health care providers to ensure transparency and consumer involvement.

Tom Pelham, the newest member of the board, was born and raised in Arlington, Vermont. He served as deputy secretary of administration and also was tax commissioner under Gov. Jim Douglas, among other positions he held in state government. Pelham created a budget to expand health insurance to Vermonters while ensuring the overall budget was sustained. He also helped restructure the state’s Medicaid health care premium to better fit the needs of Vermonters.

In this episode of Vote for Vermont, co-hosts Pat McDonald and Ben Kinsley interview Pelham about his career before joining the board, as well as what’s being done to address the ever-increasing cost of health care.

Pelham says that Vermont ranks well for people having access to some form of health care, though he thinks the system is somewhat regressive in its structure with “no horizontal equity” in health care. He describes a “ramped-up” system that has essentially three tiers based on income; some eligible for no payment, others who get 5 percent of their income taxed, then a steep incline of 25 to 35 percent of income taxed.

Watch full episode:

Image courtesy of Vote for Vermont/Pat McDonald