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How sweet it is

It isn't often that a local Fourth Estate enterprise scoops one of the national pros, but that happened last week when the Addison Eagle was-after a gap of several weeks-followed by the Wall Street Journal on the subject of health care plans designed to reward healthy consumer behaviors.

Both op-ed writers were amateurs with non-Fourth-Estate day jobs (one is your humble scribe, writing several weeks back on the Safeway Health Care Plan and its applicability to Vermont), and the other is one David Gratzer, M.D. (who was accorded more than 24-column inches on the op-ed page of the WSJ's May 21-22 edition to discuss Vermont's embrace of the public option or single-payer health care strategy.

Towards the end, Dr. Gratzer argues, as had your humble scribe earlier, that Vermont would have been a particularly fertile field for a plan with a wellness-reward component, and that it's a pity that Vermont chose not to.

Clearly, Dr. Gratzer's correct, even if he didn't first get his argument from the pages of the Eagle (then again, Dr. Gratzer may well have been inspired by your humble scribe's recent column). Nevertheless, as 1950s television icon Jackie Gleason often said on such salutary occasions-"How sweet it is!"

Dr. Gratzer recites all the usual reasons why Vermonters, in the state which scores number 1 in the nation, health-wise, according to the United Health Foundation, using various wellness measures, "...Could receive incentives to prevent diseases caused by obesity, tobacco, and other life-style choices...," but then, recognizing Vermont's political disposition, closes with "...but don't expect Vermont...to test it any time soon. Not while the public-option itch is still out there waiting to be scratched." Exactly.

Unlike your humble scribe, Dr. Gratzer addressed zero column-inches to why is Vermont number 1. The answer is in some readily available statistical rankings.

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