As a young Vermonter who grew up in the Green Mountain State, I have long been proud of the ways in which our state has led the way on so many issues of human rights and dignity. As the 2015 legislative sessions comes ever nearer, it’s critical we move forward on our path toward Green Mountain Care that is about all care and all people, and not about filling the pockets of health insurance privateers.
Two years ago, I had a major hernia operation. I had been suffering from minor irritation for years and extreme pain for the months leading up to surgery. At the time, I was covered by Catamount. The surgery went without a hitch. While my body tended to recovering from the trauma of invasive surgery, my mind was occupied by the enormous anxiety of the $4,000 I was facing in deductibles, co-pays, and other out-of-pocket expenses. I was enraged that even with insurance, health care profiteers were extorting $1,000’s in exchange for an end to my suffering.
Vermont is at a crossroads. Down one path, my neighbors, family, and I will continue to shell out enormous amounts of money for our human right to health, with fellow Vermont residents and parts of our body slashed out of “coverage” altogether. Down the other path is healthcare treated as a public good, funded by inequitable taxes, including all people and all care. I ask our governor, legislators, and Green Mountain Care Board members: which side are you on?