What's missing in letter against single-payer

February 19, 2014

By: Walter Carpenter, Montpelier

The letter "Single payer promises" by Mr. Rob Roper in the Bennington Banner (Feb. 13, 2014) is interesting for what it is missing, what it implies, and a falsehood which needs to be addressed. This is Mr. Roper's little slam at single-payer advocates who yearn for "unfettered and unlimited access to any and all medical care," whatever this means.

We "true believers," as Mr. Roper snidely phrased it, have never said this.

What we "true believers" do believe is that access to comprehensive and universal medical care, publicly-funded, accessible for all Vermonters in a transparent manner, is a fundamental human right. Access to health care should not be limited to the economically privileged, those with the right employment, or who are a certain age or income bracket. No Vermonter should have to fear losing their health insurance or confront medical debt -- as I once did -- because of illness. This belief is shared by many, many Vermonters and the rest of the democratic world.

Mr. Roper discusses the funding proposal put forth by Sen. Peter Galbraith.

Since Senator Galbraith's bill is still in the works it is difficult to comment on. What is missing here is that even if Senator Galbraith's bill becomes law, it is still less than the tab Vermonters have been paying in premiums alone for private insurance, never mind things like these high deductibles added onto the bill.

Contrary to Mr. Roper's assertions, single-payer will remove health insurance from the backs of employers. No longer will businesses need to be health insurance agents for their employees as well as employers. No longer, for example, will they face dilemmas like 10, 15, or 20 percent or greater annual premium increases, such as happened to my brother who owns a construction business.

Green Mountain Care will insure all Vermonters (all those not covered by the federal programs) at less cost. No Vermonter will be disqualified through this or that barrier or condition. This cannot be denied.