Opinion: Fisher, Sharpe wise in backing single-payer system

We hear a lot lately about problems with the new state health plan. Certainly, the rollout was fraught with problems, and people became confused with all the options, and with the process for obtaining promised state aid. Complex change rarely comes easily.
I’d like to make two points; one generally, and the other specific to my family.
First, every modern nation in the world now has some form of universal health care for its citizens … save the U.S., where we are in the midst of putting a very complicated compromise into place. In the cases of our fellow modern nations there are continual discussions about changes, but no real arguments for scrapping it and going back to the old way.
From Canada, we hear occasional stories of folks who come south to buy treatment denied at home. Yet, their national health care program is famously called the “third rail” of Canadian politics. Any politician who seriously suggests scrapping it is as politically dead as if he stepped on a subway system’s third rail and was electrocuted. There is a reason for that. Taken as a whole, Canadians approve of national health care, even if individuals might carp about details.
Second, while my wife and I had a bit of initial trouble negotiating the process, we are now very happy with the results. Here’s what happened: We spoke with a “Navigator,” understood that we would not receive any state aid, examined our many options and then picked one. Then the pleasant surprises began.
Rather than the usual increase in costs, our premiums dropped by 15 percent. Then, as we used the coverage, we found that the plan not only had a lower deductible then our earlier, more expensive private plan, but it covered more. What’s not to like about this?
We’re thrilled about the change, and it only makes sense. With the gradually enforced coverage of all, there will be more premium money going into the pot. And with more people using preventive and diagnostic services going forward, we should see a lessening of the horrendous costs of dealing with late-discovery catastrophic illness.
It’s natural for people to complain about change. It’s also natural for people afraid of change to vote against the people who helped bring the change. But in this case, the change is working, so I believe that the right thing to do is to vote to retain the people that brought us this change. Not those who would try to roll back the clock without an answer for the problems.
Complaining is easy, but courage in Montpelier is rare. That’s why I’ll vote for Mike Fisher and Dave Sharpe on Nov 4.
John Jefferies

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