Vermont Leads believes that every Vermont resident has the right to affordable, comprehensive health care through a publicly funded system. Vermont Leads works to achieve this through a combination of grassroots organizing, public education, and political action.
Yesterday’s announcement by Governor Shumlin shocked all of us who have worked so hard to make single payer health care a reality. I truly believe the Governor and his team left no stone unturned in their effort to develop a financing package for Green Mountain Care that was workable. While terribly disappointing, this announcement cannot signify the end of our efforts.
It’s important to remember why changing the way we pay for health care is important – it’s about people. Everyone one of us – healthy, sick, young old, rich poor, urban or rural – is affected by the high cost of health care through lower wages at work, debt from unpaid medical bills and increased taxes that pay for the roughly 50% of Vermonters who already receive some sort of publicly financed health care.
According to the last estimate, there are about 40,000 uninsured Vermonters, people living a single accident or unexpected illness away from financial catastrophe. There’s a reason that unpaid medical bills are the number one reason for bankruptcy in our country: they add up fast.
And even if you are insured, there is still is a good chance you could go bankrupt – nationally over 100,000 people diagnosed with cancer file for bankruptcy every year despite being insured.
Only by covering everyone, can we truly make the health care system work for Vermonters, instead of against them. Only then will our work be done.