Universal Primary Care, The Right Prescription

June 10, 2016

The Caledonian Record

The editorial “Another Terrible Prescription” (Caledonian-Record, 05/21/2016) is an editorial conflicting with its own irony. It disses two proposals for publicly-funded universal systems currently in the statehouse — Dr. Dynasaur for children up to age 26 and Universal Primary Care — while simultaneously defending another universal program called Medicare. The editorial says of this program that the state of Vermont cannot get its grubby paws on the payment stream for Medicare patients.” Why are the first two a “terrible prescription,” for our healthcare malady while the third is sacrosanct? All three are universal care (single-payer) programs.

Universal Primary Care (UPC), for example, would more than carry its own weight. The editorials slaps it down as “free” for all. This is in error. UPC would, in fact, be free at the point of delivery, something quite different. For a modest cost, much less than we already spend on our health care chaos, it would be like Medicare for primary care, except that its enrollees would not be restricted by age or other qualifications. UPC would work to give every Vermonter access to primary care, free of co-pays, co-insurance, deductibles, and other means employed by private insurance to control access and maintain their profits. Since primary care is the foundation of any health care system and unrestricted access to it saves money by catching problems early before they evolve into more expensive nightmares, UPC would carry more than its weight in saving us money down the road.

Universal Primary Care is not merely another experiment or another study to throw away money on. It is alive and well in every other democratic nation, which also has far lower costs than our profit-based health care non-system has ever done for us.

UPC would be the right prescription at the right time.

Walter Carpenter

Montpelier, Vt.