Letter: Vermont as a health care 'laboratory'
Recently, the Trump/Ryan "Repeal-and- Replace" bill, the AHCA, was pulled before it could be defeated. The leadership could not muster the votes for this bad plan among their own party, and no Democrat would touch it. Calls to Congress were 50-1 in favor of keeping the ACA in place rather than passing an enormous tax cut for the wealthiest Americans while up to 24 million citizens are forced to give up insurance and access to health care.
Health care should not be not only affordable, but accessible to all. Conservatives all over the developed world understand that health care should be a requirement for a civilized society, not a commodity available only to those who can pay. As long as profit is the goal of our health care industry — insurance companies, hospitals, other providers, and pharmaceutical corporations — the health of Americans will be secondary. Investors have a hard time seeing health outcomes as more important than dividends, as do overpaid corporate executives. Based on past performance, our market cannot be trusted to regulate itself.
Of course we have to pay for it. We are already paying for it. Would you rather pay to see a doctor or beef up the dividends of a 1-percenter? Is it OK that wealthy investors and executives make excessive profits, while regular citizens cannot afford care? I say it is unacceptable, immoral, shameful.
I have written to Peter Welch to suggest that he and his colleagues have an opportunity to take us in that direction. Vermont also has an opportunity. I have written to Governor Scott and our legislators to suggest that Vermont would make the perfect laboratory for a universal non-profit system that puts the health of our citizens first and profits second. I have been told it's too difficult and complex, but I don't believe that the smart people of Vermont cannot work out a better system.
If Gov. Scott could champion the creation of a system that will save tax dollars and meet Vermont's health care needs, Vermont would be a role model with sensible, compassionate policies.
An even cooler idea would be for Vermont to work together with other Northeastern states to craft a regional plan. The economy-of- scale would make it more doable and businesses and workers, young families and entrepreneurs might stop fleeing our region and instead would return. Why not try? What a legacy that would be.
Athens, April 7
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