Bratt Reformer: "Why the May 1 health care rally is critical for young Vermonters"

http://www.reformer.com/localeditorials/ci_14949758

Why the May 1 health care rally is critical for young Vermonters

By ANISA POTVIN

Saturday April 24, 2010

On May 1, there will be a "Health Care Is A Human Right" Rally at the Statehouse in Montpelier with U.S. Sen. Bernard Sanders and Vermonters from all over the state.

I grew up in the small town of Stamford and I am graduating this in a few weeks from the University of Vermont. I joined with the Health Care is a Human Right Campaign because I believe it is critically important for Vermont to lead the country by establishing a real health system that is actually based on meeting the needs of Vermonters.

The health care system in this country simply cannot continue as it is because it is unsustainable. In this country we have the highest health care costs in the world, almost twice as much as all other industrial countries which have real universal health care.

Because Americans have to pay the highest out-of-pocket costs for health care of any nation, it means that millions of people refrain from seeking the care they need, when they need it, because they feel they cannot afford it.

We should be able to live without the fear of health insurance companies and hospitals knocking down our doors. Health care is something we all need; and I believe it is time we start looking at it like we do our local fire department. If someone in our community needs help, we need to join together and help that person or family. I remember when my grandparents' barn burned down, the whole town came out to watch it burn, but once the fire was out, they were there to raise that barn back up.

We need to get back to these basic Vermont community values. Vermont is my home and I hope to be able to afford to stay here. Over the years, I have heard lots of people talk about a problem Vermont has in losing its young people when they finish school. When we establish quality health care for all Vermonters, I can promise that many of graduates that are now leaving will then actually be able to afford to stay.

We will be able to stay and work for the many small growing companies that currently cannot afford to provide health care. I really believe we will find that in a short matter of time our communities and local economies will thrive.

I believe it comes down to making the commitment that we need to be there for each other. Let's stop letting something as important as health care be dependent on a whole slew of variables most people have no control of, like where you work and where your family works.

Let's join together and make sure that all of us can stay here and have a health care system that allows us to do so. This year Vermont is on the verge of passing a bill, S.88, which will put our state on that path.

We need to show Vermont lawmakers that we want to put an end to private insurance companies price-gouging their clients for plans that cover nothing. We want to put an end to all personal bankruptcies from medical debt and people becoming homeless because they get sick.

Please join me and thousands of other Vermonters for this historic rally, where we put Vermont in a position to lead the country to make healthcare for all a reality.

Anisa Potvin grew up in Stamford. To learn more about the Vermont Workers Center and the Health Care is a Human Right Campaign, visit workerscenter.org/may1 or call 802-861-4892.