Rutland Herald

Apparently, real health care would be too un-American.

The recent news that UVM Medical Center ER was so overwhelmed, patients were being urged to seek treatment elsewhere marks quite an accomplishment for Vermont. By creating a system of health care that now features incredibly long waits, and emergency rooms so overwhelmed they are turning patients away to urgent care centers, we have succeeded in making health care all but unattainable at high cost.

Many ER patient complaints could have been handled by a primary care physician long before they arrived at the emergency room. But that’s not even the point. The point is that astronomical CEO salaries and political campaign donations have created this situation.

It’s all now about who gets a slice of the health care pie and how big the slice is. What should be the root purpose of health care — the care of people’s health — is almost irrelevant. Patients are just “consumers” to be mined for maximum cash flow by checking the right boxes. Staff gets shortchanged or downsized in pursuit of the same cash flow.

Vermont could have avoided patients getting turned away from emergency rooms. Imagine if we had invested in primary care, which could have solved so many of these problems, rather than spending billions on “value-based care” — a nebulous version of managed. What if our emphasis was on health care instead of on dollars and profits executive compensation?

Apparently, that would be too crazy … too un-American.

Lodiza LePore