The decision to make OneCare Vermont part of the University of Vermont Health Network raises again the need to improve transparency and oversight of OneCare, the accountable care organization that handles health care spending for over one-third of Vermonters.

This new structure gives UVM Health Network enormous power over Vermont’s health care and health care financing system. We are essentially backing ourselves into a kind of single payer system, run by a large hospital, without the public oversight such a system needs.

OneCare has not met its goals of improved patient care or lower costs. And has resisted efforts to provide information like salary and payroll. There are also questions about conflicts of interest in the relationship between UVM Health Network and OneCare.

Legislation (S.82) I introduced with the multi-partisan support of 15 Senate sponsors would provide the state auditor with access to accountable care organizations records as needed to conduct an audit. It is a small but important step towards greater transparency.

The Legislature should pass S.82 and use it as a vehicle for a serious conversation about transparency and accountability for OneCare and the UVM Health Network.

Anthony Pollina is a Washington County state senator, and serves as the Vermont Progressive Party chair.

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