Health Care Reform Hardly Ambitious

July 28, 2013

Burlington Free Press

Thanks much to Aki Soga for his editorial “A Worthy Experiment” (July 20) where he discusses “Vermont's ambitious efforts to reform the health insurance system.”

The word “ambitious” is interesting here. The rest of the democratic/technological world has for decades had such health systems in place which Vermont is now striving so ambitiously to achieve. They have all proved many times beyond a reasonable doubt that single-payer systems can cover all citizens at far less cost than our dysfunctional system has been able to achieve — no matter how we might tweak it to try and prove that it can.

Perhaps Vermont’s “experiment” is ambitious in a nation which does not seem to especially mind some 50 million of its citizens being uninsured.
This country also has three single-payer systems in place. These are Medicare, Medicaid and the Veterans Administration. Each proves tolerably well, despite the efforts of the opposition (both public and private) to destroy them, that Vermont’s “worthy experiment” is not just a reckless endeavor by dreamy-eyed liberals.

I heartily agree with Mr. Soga on how the opponents of health reform have nothing to offer but the same structural problems we have now and that Vermont might make some “missteps” along the way toward health reform. Yet, as someone who nearly perished because of these structural problems, I second Mr. Soga’s conclusion that “Neither the nation nor Vermont can afford to abandon health care reform.”

WALTER CARPENTER
Montpelier