Opinion: Legislature must continue toward single-payer goal

My name is Suzanne Boyle. I am retired now and have Medicare plus a Supplemental Health Insurance Plan — USAA, a nonprofit healthcare plan. However, it wasn’t always this simple.
I lived 30 years in Connecticut, raising three children as a single parent, working at Cigna Insurance, attending night college courses for nine years to receive a double degree in education and American studies. With my degree I returned to teaching. Fifteen years later I found myself facing the most difficult challenge in my life.
In 2003 I was diagnosed with Stage III endometrial cancer. I underwent surgery, in-depth chemo treatments and six weeks of radiation therapy. The cost was well over $100,000. Three years later the cancer cell metastasized in my left lung. More surgery was necessary removing one-third of my left lung. It was then I discovered how very dangerous it is to become ill in America. I learned exactly what “healthcare for profit” means.
Everyone has issues they feel passionate about. My passion is healthcare. I know what it’s like to be denied coverage due to a pre-existing condition using up all your savings and retirement funds to pay for expensive medical treatments; I know what it is like to be financially strapped and know the “for-profit” insurance CEOs are making millions themselves and for their shareholders, while refusing treatments to those with pre-existing conditions and creating their own “death panels” to decide a patient’s life or death course of treatment.
I have followed the development of the affordable Care Act, a k a “Obamacare,” closely. I attended Sen. Sanders’ town meetings to understand and gather information. For me, hearing that this law would cover pre-existing conditions is exciting. It means that everyone is finally able to receive healthcare coverage and hopefully be safe from bankruptcy.
Recently I have learned more about single-payer healthcare and realize I cannot support someone who wants to repeal the ACA or does not support single-payer insurance.
I am comforted knowing that Dave Sharpe and Mike Fisher have been personally involved in developing Vermont’s single-payer system. I support their efforts in developing a system that will provide health care for every Vermonter. No one should be denied health care — it is a human right.
Suzanne Boyle

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