Opinion: Corporate interests are winning the health care battle
I have some questions about Gov. Shumlin’s recent cessation of universal single-payer tax-supported health care for Vermont.
Was there a coalition of conservative Democratic and Republican legislators who threatened to vote for the Republican candidate for governor if Shumlin carried out his plan to implement Act 48?
Why the sudden failure in gaining the prospective federal funding that was promised? After all of this time since the passage of Act 48 (3-1/2 years), can we really believe that the planned-for federal funding had not been made certain?
To what degree have the business community, the insurance companies, and the health care corporations been instrumental in the disruption of the implementation of the new health care plan?
Is it reasonable to believe that Vermont could not find a workable model for universal publicly funded health care among the nations where it is successfully implemented?
As a society, are we Vermonters willing to allow those who are becoming rich from our health care to continue to trump the public good? Compared to 10 Western nations, the United States has the least effective and most expensive health care system. Overall, the U.S. system is least effective in ratings which include quality care, access to care, efficiency, equity, and healthy lives. Yet, the annual per capita cost in the United States is greater than each of the countries in comparison: Australia, France, Germany, Canada, the Netherlands, the United Kingdom, Switzerland, Sweden, New Zealand and Norway.
The UK ranked first overall in health care, but the 2013 annual per capita cost for the United Kingdom was $3,405, whereas the cost for the 11th-ranked U.S. was $8,508. See forbes.com’s “U.S. Healthcare Ranked Dead Last Compared to 10 Other Countries” (http://onforb.es/1skY7yp).
This is the free market at work: Apparently what is good for business is bad for the people, and what is good for the people is at odds with the interests of the wealthy. Vermont can lead the nation in reforming health care by taking our health out of the hands of corporate interests and taking over our own health care system. We deserve no less, and we must, together, require this reform from our Vermont state government.
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