This is a letter to me from Cathy Albisa, the Executive Director of NESRI ( National and Economic Social Rights Initiative), dated 1/8/15. Her update of events, shows a slight set back, but not the end of the discussion on the need for a Single Payer System.
Just as Vermont stands ready to become the first Statein the country to provide health care as a public good, Governor Shumlin is attempting to stop the process in its tracks. Today, the NESRI health team is on the ground with the Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign, led by our partner, the Vermont Workers’ Center, and the campaign is filling the halls of the Vermont Statehouse to demand that legislators stand by their commitment and move forward with universal publicly financed health care.
After many delays, Governor Shumlin recently released his health care financing plan. The Governor’s own calculations on public financing make a surprisingly good case for a publicly financed health care system that provides better care for all and increases net incomes for 93% of families. Yet, the Governor has encouraged the legislature to refrain from moving forward on publicly financed care despite that it clearly benefits the vast majority of families and individuals in the state. This is clearly a political, not an economic calculation to abandon public health care financing, after a tight election and under pressure from his business advisory council. We know that universal health care is not only economically feasible but necessary.
Vermont can no longer afford the human suffering and lives lost in a private, market-based system that puts profits before people and deepens inequity in our society. The state’s 2011 commitment to health care as a public good, as stated in Act 48, still stands. Despite Shumlin’s opposition, the legislature must stand with the people of Vermont and blaze the path towards universal, publicly financed health care without him.
Our task is, as always, to expand what is politically possible. If Vermont can find a path to universal health care – perhaps guided by the proposal for equitable financing being prepared by the campaign – it can become a blueprint for other states, and ultimately the country as a whole. Healthcare Is a Human Right campaigns in Maine, Maryland and Pennsylvania have already taken up the torch.
The NESRI Team
My 2 Cents: As the insurance companies benefit the most from the newly established affordable care system. Tweaking the system would be better for patients and physicians.