March 7th 2020 -- Dozens of Medicaid recipients and supporters rallied today at UVM Medical Center and Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center in a protest against the privatization of Vermont’s health care system.
OneCare Vermont, a private company run by the hospitals, has received millions of dollars in public Medicaid funding that people on Medicaid say should have been spent on direct care and wage increases for workers.
"There are tens of thousands of people on Medicaid and Vermont Health Connect who can’t afford the care we need”, said Volney Gordon, a VT Workers' Center member from Washington. “But instead of investing in our communities, policymakers are diverting millions in Medicaid funding to a private company.”
Rally participants also called out the lack of regulatory scrutiny over OneCare since former Green Mountain Care Board chair and Human Services secretary Al Gobeille left government to work for OneCare affiliate UVM Health Network.
Since Gobeille’s departure last summer, the Green Mountain Care Board and Agency of Human Services have been campaigning for legislators to approve an extra $4.5 million in Medicaid funding for OneCare from the 2021 Vermont state budget – to compensate for overspending their allotment from last year – which protesters say is inappropriate and undermines trust in government.
The Health Care is a Human Right Campaign is calling on lawmakers to reject the bailout, roll back the privatization of Vermont’s health care system under the hospitals, and finish the work of implementing a universal, publicly financed health care system.