Strong support for Act 48 at public hearing on healthcare access

Charlie Murphy of Bennington speaking at hearingOn Tuesday, January 23rd, over 150 people braved the freezing rain and came to speak out at a public hearing on access to healthcare.

Supporters of the Health Care is a Human Right Campaign called on members of the House Healthcare and Senate Health and Welfare Committees to move forward with full implementation of Act 48. 

Many made the case that universal primary care legislation under discussion represents a detour from the work of implementing equitable financing for universal healthcare in Vermont. 

Middlebury resident and Addison OC member Jason Kaye shared that the primary obstacle to implementing Act 48 is the combined power of healthcare profiteers and Vermont’s economic elite, who use their influence in Montpelier to prevent elected officials from raising taxes on big corporations and the wealthy. 

Kaiya Andrews, a Waterbury parent with a disability, testified that, “It is hard to take care of my children when I’m not able to care for myself and get my needs met. It is frustrating when you get a letter in the mail from the doctors office saying 'We cannot meet your needs because [we] cannot take on your complex requirements.' We need to have universal healthcare for all humankind, not just the ones who are easy to fix. No healthcare insurance should tell us what doctor to see or who we can’t see.”

Randolph teacher and NEA member Tevye Kelman called out Governor Scott for using high health insurance costs as a convenient way to scapegoat teachers and undermine K-12 public education in our state. 

Click here to view photos and videos of others who testified at the hearing.

Take Action: 

Despite a growing healthcare crisis, some elected officials are discussing piecemeal reforms that fail to address the crisis at its roots. To make matters worse, Governor Scott is proposing to eliminate a critical assistance program for those of us with disabilities.

1. Mark your calendars for February 28th, Disability Awareness Day at the Vermont Statehouse. The theme this year is “Health” - including healthcare and the social determinants of health like housing, transportation, and employment. Click here to RSVP on Facebook and invite your friends.

2. Write a Letter to the Editor of your local paper calling on officials to avoid getting sidetracked and focus on the real solution: equitable financing for Act 48. Click here to watch a three minute video from 2015 for inspiration.