Health Care Should be a Public Good

February 15, 2012

Times Argus 

Misleading information and other distortions have plagued efforts for real health care reform in the past and will no doubt again in the future. For example, John McClaughry states in his recent Times Argus article (Jan. 26) that Vermont has only two health insurance carriers “thanks to laws passed in 1991 and 1992 specifically to drive their competitors out.”

These “community rating” laws he referred to were established so that all Vermonters could buy health insurance at a standard premium, not to eliminate competition by driving out insurers. Prior to these laws, insurance companies could “cherry pick” those least likely to have health problems, such as the young and healthy. Since insurance companies couldn’t continue this practice, essentially discriminating against those who needed health coverage the most, they decided to quit the state. My health insurance carrier at the time, Aetna, was one of those that left for that very reason.

Reactionary ideologues such as John McClaughry seem to always put the interest of so-called free market enterprise, in this case the insurance companies, ahead of the needs of the individual. Comprehensive health care for all should be considered a public good, not a commodity based on a person’s wealth or their employer’s plan.

Jerry Kilcourse

Montpelier