Health care bill will be historic

April 21, 2014

 Rutland Herald

By: CHARLES GREGORY, Springfield

About “Time Crunch” (April 20): Who would have guessed when the Legislature asked consultant Thorpe for a “Plan B” that he would serve them something other than leftovers? Well, at least his ideas were better than the well-known Republican plan of, “Don’t get sick, but if you do, die fast.”

As you said, it is “an enormously complicated undertaking” that requires careful planning and scrutiny by all, but the Legislature must keep in mind that universal health care for Vermont is not only an idea whose time has come, but it is also clearly affordable, as world economic data show:

If Vermont were its own country, it would rank 20th in per capita GDP (PCGDP) with $38,198 (2005). Adjusted for parity of purchasing power (which equalizes currencies’ worth), it puts Vermont right ahead of Belgium and 171 other countries;

Twenty-one of those countries have health care outcomes which, dollar for dollar, are superior to the U.S. (2013 PCGDP, $52,800, ranking 8th in 2013);

Of the 36 countries which have health outcomes superior to the U.S., only 15 have a higher PCGDP than Vermont. Vermonters per capita are richer than the citizens of France, Belgium, Denmark, the United Kingdom, Andorra, Japan, Finland, San Marino, Israel, Saudi Arabia, New Zealand, Spain, the United Arab Emirates, Oman, Italy, Cyprus, Greece, Portugal, Chile, Argentina and Colombia.

The Legislature ought to keep in mind what the prize is: A system of universal coverage will ensure that never again will Vermonters have to put off having an illness treated until it is too late. Never again will they lose their insurance because they lost their job due to being too sick to work. Never again will they go bankrupt due to costs of medical care. Never again will their doctors be told to deny them appropriate care. The Legislature that passes this bill will be the most famous in the history of the state.