This commentary is by Jessica Early of Burlington, who is a registered working nurse and family nurse practitioner. She is also a health care justice organizer for Rights & Democracy, a grassroots organization working to build strong communities grounded in health care, economic and environmental justice in Vermont and New Hampshire.
Mike Smith’s June 11 VTDigger piece “Does Anyone Know Where We’re Headed on Health Care?” highlights some serious issues in Vermont’s current health care system as well as raises some important questions about its future. Unfortunately, Smith does not identify the root cause of Vermont’s health care woes, nor does he name the most significant threat to our future.In Vermont, as in every state in our country, our “health care system” is not a system of health care at all. Instead it is a dizzyingly complex patchwork of profiteering private insurers, who market medical services as a commodity to increase their own bottom line and underfund public payers. This lack of any real “system” is the root cause of both our inability to control costs and ensure access to care for all Vermonters.