I believe health care is a basic human right, and I hope that Vermont—if not the U.S.—can develop and implement a single-payer system that leaves capitalism, profit, and inflated salaries behind.
The process of transitioning to such a system is exciting and terrifying, fraught with genuine challenges. It won’t be easy, and it will take time, but our vision for a better way and our mature ability to be patient and trust can prevail. I believe we can do it, and I believe the positive results will eventually fan further out than any of us can imagine; beyond the preventive care so many will receive that will then radically decrease emergency room and hospital visits, imagine people choosing employment because it suits them, not because it includes health benefits.
Regarding taxes and the recently reported facts on increases in Montpelier (and beyond), there are two factors that consistently drive up school, municipal, and state budgets at unsustainable rates: fossil fuels (a finite resource despite the recent spate produced via the destructive process of fracking) and health care. All other costs tend, generally, to increase at predictable, sustainable rates. Montpelier—and Vermont—has an effective approach to developing sustainable alternatives to fossil fuel use that is gradually decreasing our dependence on it. Health care remains as our challenge.
If health care costs were not part of the equation for school and municipal budgets, we would not be having the problems we now face with high property taxes. An analysis of municipal and school budgets would reveal unthinkable increases in health care costs—increases we currently have no control over.
Let’s look this problem in the face, take control of our resources, take a positive attitude and trust that we can create a single-payer health care system that will work. Every other developed nation has done so.