Richard Tarrant, founder of medical software firm IDX and now a U.S. Senate candidate in Vermont, said he soon would unveil a proposal for reforming healthcare that would scrap the federal-state Medicaid programs in favor of an expanded Medicare. "Healthcare I believe is the No. 1 issue right now,'' Tarrant, a Republican, said Tuesday evening. ''You can't fix it on a state basis.''
Tarrant said there are 56 separate Medicaid systems operating redundant bureaucracies. He said it would be much better to cover those who can't afford insurance through an expanded federal Medicare program, which currently covers the elderly. Numerous states have tried to reform their Medicaid systems to cover more of the uninsured, which has been great for his company's business, Tarrant said. He listed several states where IDX has repeatedly implemented new systems. ''Every two years we go in and change the computers. ... We're spinning our wheels.''
Tarrant is expected to face Greg Parke of Rutland in a Republican primary in September, with the winner of that contest squaring off against independent U.S. Rep. Bernard Sanders in November for a seat opened by the retirement of Sen. James Jeffords, Ind.-Vt.