Vermont needs strength and will

February 16, 2012

Stowe Reporter

I would like to respond to the letter “Can Vermont fix health care?” by Helene Martin in the Feb. 9 edition of the Stowe Reporter.

“I worry,” Ms. Martin wrote, “that Vermont ... will not be able to afford to fix our broken health-care system, but believe we are trying.”

We are trying. Like Ms. Martin, I also support a system where health care is treated as a public good, not as a market commodity. A nearly fatal journey through the nightmare of this broken non-system taught me what this means.

We are lucky in that many groups are in there working alongside the Vermont Public Interest Research Group that Ms. Martin mentions. Among these are the Vermont Workers Center, Vermont Health Care for All, Physicians for a National Health Program, many legislators, our governor, and our first-rate congressional delegation. Also, the newly formed Green Mountain Care Board is hard at work designing that “cohesive system” Ms. Martin advocated for.

Can we afford it? The money is already there. Vermont now spends about $5 billion annually on health care, some $7,000 per person. We have to channel this money into a single pipeline to provide health care for all our citizens, rather than it going into so many disparate ways and purposes.

Vermont can do it. We just need to have the strength and the will to keep going until we become the first in the nation to get it done.

Walter Carpenter

Montpelier

Editor’s note: Walter Carpenter was appointed this week to the Green Mountain Care Board advisory committee.