August 19th, 2019

The Future of Healthcare in Vermont

Dear Editor,

My name is Genevieve Mertens. I am registered nurse at the University of Vermont Medical Center, a part of the nurse’s union, and member of the Vermont Workers Center. I recently attended the public hearing on access to healthcare at the Statehouse on Tuesday January 23. Fifty-one people shared their personal healthcare stories and most expressed support for Act 48, a law that if implemented would give all Vermonters access to affordable and high quality healthcare. It passed seven years ago. And yet, it has still not been implemented.

Legislators are discussing a new bill, one that only would provide primary care, instead of total care like Act 48. Rather than try to fix another fragment in an already broken system, legislators should be bold and create a system that provides total care.

I see the damaging effects of an unfair healthcare system everyday in my job. I had a patient who could not afford the medications for her diabetes and ended up having both of her legs amputated due to complications from that disease. I see patients wait too long to seek care because they’re afraid of the costs many times.

Listen to the people, the patients, the nurses, the mother who has to choose between taking her child the doctors or buying them food, who has to choose between filling her own prescriptions or her family’s.

Our legislators have the responsibility and the opportunity to do the right thing for Vermonters. We need a universal healthcare system.

Genevieve Mertens, RN

University of Vermont Medical Center

Burlington, VT

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