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Letters to the Editor: Health care for all is inevitable

On April 19, 2000, then Vermont Governor Howard Dean signed into law the Civil Union bill granting the same legal protections of marriage for same sex couples. This was considered a major victory but a bittersweet victory for same sex couples because it went somewhere significant but it still marginalized same sex couples as ‘other.’ This bill was a pioneer bill — nothing like it had ever been done before — and therefore there was a lot of fear and anger about the unknown and what it might mean.
Governor Dean signed the legislation privately behind closed doors to minimize controversy. But sign it he did, and a symbolic door was opened up. This door has been open since and there is no going back. That door will never be closed again.
Since April 19, 2000, there has been opposition and there have been some steps back, but steadily, steadily, steadily, the steps forward have been happening again and again and again. Gay marriage is now legal in the United States and countries all over the world following the U.S. lead have legalized same sex marriage or provided civil union protection for same sex couples.
When the Affordable Care Act (ACA) was signed into law by President Obama, this opened the door to universal health care in the United States. The bill was flawed and in the same way that civil unions didn’t go far enough, the ACA had numerous problems and still does. Nevertheless, millions of United States citizens got health care for the first time in their lives. The Affordable Care Act was our country’s way of saying with legislation ‘health care is a right’ in the same way the that 2000 civil union bill legislated that gay people were entitled the rights of marriage.
The whole debate and controversy about repeal and replace of the ACA for Trumpcare is all about our country coming to terms with the fact that the United States has been on the wrong side of history for decades with not having a government health care system.
Health care is a very personal issue and millions of Americans do not want to lose the health care that they have now and they are willing to fight for it for themselves and for their friends and family. We don’t know what might happen next with Trumpcare and we don’t know what actions those who oppose the ACA might take next. We might very well have some steps that go back before we move forward again. But what is very clear is that all the fighting to stop Obamacare/the ACA is ultimately destined to fail, just like all the fighting to stop gay marriage has failed.
The door is open now for universal health care. That door will never be closed again. Step by step by step the United States will have a universal health care system and our right as human beings to have health care will be made into law.
Maggie Hall
Middlebury

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