We Need Primary Care Help

March 04, 2017

 St. Albans Messenger

The House and Senate Health Care Committees are now considering legislation proposing publicly funded primary care for all Vermonters (H.248 and S.53). The League of Women Voters strongly supports these bills.

Primary care can be described as the care typically provided by pediatricians, internists, family physicians, and nurse practitioners who specialize in primary care. The bills also include outpatient mental health and substance abuse providers. The League of Women Voters does not jump on bandwagons.

We study an issue and come to member consensus before reaching an advocacy position. The LWVUS used that process before adopting a position in favor of a national single payer health care system more than 20 years ago.

While continuing to pursue that goal, the League recognized that the individual states could provide models for the nation. In Vermont the League conducted its own study, adopted in 2005, to reach a position more amenable to state-level implementation. That position is the basis for the League’s strong support for H.248 and S.53.

Most health care is primary care. Accessible, publicly funded health care will save money. When patients do not delay a doctor visit because of cost, more complex, expensive care is avoided. Include mental health care and substance abuse counseling to primary care, and even more problems are headed off. Publicly funded primary care is an investment in public health.

H.248 and S.53 do not request funds at this time. Rather, the legislation asks that the Joint Fiscal Office present funding options for later implementation. Please contact your legislators and ask them to support Universal Primary Care. Let the Joint Fiscal Office provide a way to make this basic human need a reality for Vermonters in these uncertain times.

Catherine Rader, LWVVT