Vermont Could Become the Leader in Reform

Paul Martin, South Burlington

As a Canadian now living in Vermont, I’ve lived for most of my life with a single payer system and have seen first-hand how much more efficient it can be. More important than anything, though, is how much better it would be for the day-to-day life of Vermonters. Imagine being able to switch jobs, create your own business, hire an employee, or raise children without ever having to think twice about whether you will have access to healthcare. This is the reality for everyone in every other major country in the world. Economically, this would be a huge boost to the Vermont economy and would be phenomenal for business. What business would not want to move to Vermont if their cost of providing healthcare was dropped dramatically. Imagine how much more we could achieve this way! This would raise both the standard of living and the quality of life in Vermont.

If you’re looking for examples of how Vermont could become the leader in the US for reform, look no further than how the Province of Saskatchewan under the leadership of Tommy Douglas brought universal healthcare to its people and set an example for the entire country. Vermont could do this and prove to the US that this would work. Let’s make Vermont the leader who will make history in America and bring true and affordable universal healthcare to its people. This is not an impossible dream but a visionary and pragmatic move that would change the face and status of this state.

The current system for providing health insurance has reached it limits and is clearly not working. We are spending way too much money and too many are left with insufficient or no insurance coverage. In 2008, 47,000 Vermonters were uninsured and even greater numbers underinsured. People without health insurance typically delay treatment until it is an emergency. We are already paying for the un and underinsured in our state through increased premiums, higher deductibles, and lower reimbursements to medical providers. This is an ineffective and unfair system and it is time we make it work for Vermonters.

A Single Payer system would put all Vermonters into one risk pool, lower administrative costs, and ensure every Vermonter has access to medical care. Universal coverage will remove roadblocks and help us maintain a healthy population, prevent unnecessary bankruptcies due to medical costs, ensure medical providers are fairly compensated, and it is morally correct.

It is time for Vermont to lead the country again by showing we can cover all our citizens and we can reduce the financial burden on families and businesses.

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