To the Editor:
I fully empathize with Rep. Ashely Bartley on losing her job and her health insurance after she became a legislator. This is reprehensible.
This is, however, not unusual in Vermont. In fact, it is routine. I was also a victim of it. I once lost my job and my health insurance with it after a life-threatening illness. I had become a medical loss for the company’s insurer. My sickness cost them money. When I returned from three operations and a twelve-week medical leave, my job had been neatly eliminated in a company restructuring.
The illness returned several months later. My new employer promptly reneged on the promised benefits, forcing me into an uninsured operation, where I had to negotiate the price of the operation (essentially ransoming my life or die), and then into years of that American health care exceptionalism called medical debt.
I fully support S.39, which would supply health benefits to legislators, among other things. Our legislators work hard for us, often against impossible odds. It is criminal that they lack these things.
Yet, to date our state legislature (though not all members, of course) has consistently denied the rest of us, who will have to foot the bill for S.39 if it becomes law, the same kind of health benefits that they propose to grant themselves with S.39. How do they justify this? How can they justify this?