Fight for single-payer

June 08, 2017

Times Argus

I am a physical therapy student and athletic trainer living in Burlington. The health care crisis has affected me as a patient and a provider. Growing up in Vermont, I had Dr. Dinosaur until middle school. I had regular checkups, dental visits and asthma medications, covered stress-free. Then funding got cut and my parents had to pay everything out of pocket. I remember my mom getting medical bills for weeks after I sprained my ankle in high school, and it cost $2,000 for wisdom tooth removal in high school. Now, I see the same issues as a clinician. As an athletic trainer, I feel fortunate to be able to offer care to athletes without insurance agencies and costs dictating the care.

No person in imminent danger should have to weigh or negotiate the cost of their health. I have experienced times where athletes had significant head trauma, and required immediate transport to the hospital. These couple athletes showed some hesitation and one tried to refuse transport in the ambulance due to the insanely high costs of the ride.

I hope to work in a world where I can provide care based on need instead of ability to pay. That is why I am joining in solidarity with the Vermont Workers’ Center in their fight for a universal, single payer health care system. This is the only equitable way to improve access to care, quality of care, and decrease the needless $3 million administrative costs and save patients cost of care.

Michael Leonard