Bill Schubart’s very powerful column about the implosion of Vermont’s health care system is right on the mark. He deplores the consolidation of health care monopoly in this state and the associated decline in the ability of actual Vermonters to afford and access health care services. He points to “an acquisition strategy that consolidates power, creating an unchecked monopoly with no countervailing regulatory force.”

But who checks monopoly? As Schubart notes, monopolies try to control the political process and that’s what makes it so hard to rein them in (as we often see in Washington, D.C., and even here in Vermont). What this means is that as long as health care is not a public good, and as long as it is controlled by increasingly corporate interests, you are going to have monopoly power with “no countervailing force.”

Bill Schubart’s column adds to the chorus of people decrying the problems of accessing health care in Vermont. We now need people willing to stand up for the solution — health care as a universal public good — in equally loud terms. Otherwise, no regulation or small fixes will stop the processes that Bill Schubart is correctly decrying.

For starters, we should be insisting that H.276, a bill that would phase in universal access to health care in Vermont, as required by our Act 48 road map, actually gets considered and passed. The bill has 44 co-sponsors. It deserves a hearing.

Ellen Oxfeld