Health Care for All

November 14, 2013

Times Argus

I’m a veteran of the U.S. Marines, and I’ve struggled with health care and poverty for almost all of my life. I’ve been without health care (including dental) for many years. There have been times when I have gone on a health care plan through my work, only to lose it because my work was seasonal, or because I couldn’t afford the premium. Last year, I applied for VHAP (the Vermont state health care assistance program). At the time, I was on unemployment and an extremely tight budget and again could not afford the monthly premium, so had to go without health care.

I recently lived in a veterans home and was able to apply for and receive medical care through Veterans Affairs. When I applied, I was told that because the VA system is so underfunded, almost everyone who applies is rejected at first and then has to appeal. This is what I had to do and had to go without access to health care the entire time that I was waiting.

Right now there is a lot of debate about health care as the Affordable Care Act is being implemented. I hope that everyone knows that Vermont is also on the path to establishing a universal health care system, starting in 2017. We have the opportunity to create a system where people truly can get the care they need, and where people pay what they can afford, and not based on profit. I have joined the Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign, because I believe that we can and must change our health care system to one that is based on human rights.

My health and everyone else’s health is also impacted not just by access to health care, but also by the other ways that profits are put before people and the planet. We are not able to be healthy because of the destruction of our environment, our lack of access to healthy food, jobs that don’t pay a livable wage, or a lack of paid sick days. All these issues are connected, and we have to all realize that there are corporations and extremely rich people that are profiting off this system while the majority of us struggle.

Dave Przepioski