Health care is a public good

April 06, 2011

Rutland Herald

I am writing this letter after reading John McClaughry’s column, “Single-payer: promise and reality.” John has got it wrong. As usual when people of his political belief try to justify their position, many times fear of the unknown is used to defend their argument.

In H.202, as it passed out of the House to the Senate, it was not a single-payer bill; it was a universal health care bill. A single-payer system is one way to achieve universal health care, but there are other ways to get there, like what Germany and France have done.

I am a member of the Healthcare Is A Human Right Campaign. I feel that health care is a right, not a privilege for those who can afford it. Are you able to afford out-of-pocket premiums of $500 to $1,500 or more a month for health insurance? Access to health care should not be tied to a job. Fewer and fewer employers are able to provide it as a benefit. If employers do offer health care coverage, many times it comes with a yearly deductible upwards of $10,000.

Health care should be in the public good, not a commodity. It should be similar to our fire departments, there for the good of the community, not to be there for insurance companies to make a profit. That profit drives up the cost of our health care through the ever-rising premiums that we pay.

John has not taken into consideration the doubling of health care expenditures in Vermont over the past 10 years; from approximately $2.5 billion to approximately $5 billion at present. The pace of this growth is increasing as I write this letter.

What is John’s alternative? Do nothing, I suppose.

I wish he would look at the reality of the issue, not his political ideology, to assess the situation. He should spend a few days at the Bennington Free Clinic to see the reality of the current system. People needn’t suffer, go bankrupt, lose their businesses, and let treatable conditions worsen.