Every indicator says we are rapidly approaching the implosion of health care in Vermont and probably the nation. The 2021 Vermont Household Health Insurance Survey indicates that 38 percent of Vermonters under age 65 are underinsured, as are 32.3 percent of those on Medicare. Since the Green Mountain Care Board has again approved large rate increases for both Blue Cross and MVP, this situation will only worsen.
The NPR article, "Sick and struggling to pay," reports 100 million people in the U.S. live with medical debt. "Some lost their homes. Some emptied their retirement accounts.
Some struggled to feed and clothe their families. Our health care system pushes patients into debt on a mass scale." People are "opting for higher deductibles to get lower premiums, struggling to pay cash until the deductible is met, sinking into debt, or not seeking care."
Southwestern Vermont Medical Center's request for a 6 percent budget increase cited, "Increased pressures from the insurance companies and government payers, not to pay for services. Denials are increasing in numbers and hospitals do not have the resources to manage."
Despite this downward spiral, little or nothing is being done to address our failing system. Do those content with this status quo really feel that this is sustainable? What will the consequences of the implosion be? Do voters have enough understanding and will to vote in people willing and able to address the problem? Or do we just revert to true "everybody for themselves?"
Charlie Murphy Bennington
Support for Brenda Siegel
I have had the honor of having Brenda as my mentor for the past few years as we've worked on advocacy projects together. Brenda guided me through planning my first press conference, through designing my first petition, and through meeting with legislators and government officials. In doing all this, Brenda has fueled a movement against homelessness.
For 28 nights, Brenda Siegel and Josh Lisenby slept outside on the Statehouse steps. Lying in sleeping bags in frigid weather, eating food brought to them by volunteers, the two succeeded in their mission to change policy around the GA Motel Program. Because of Brenda and Josh, hundreds of Vermonters experiencing homelessness got access to shelter around the state in the heart of winter. Because of Brenda and Josh, many in our state did not have to sleep on the streets or freeze to death.
There are currently 550,000 people who are homeless in the United States. In the United States of America, nobody should be sleeping outside on the streets, yet that is still the case from California to Maine. We need leaders who are willing to shake up the status quo and pass policy to address this dire issue. Brenda Siegel is a fierce advocate for justice who I know, if elected as Governor, will make it her mission to end homelessness in our state. Brenda cares deeply about the most vulnerable Vermonters, and she won't stop until everyone gets the resources they need and can thrive in our state.
It's not just homelessness and poverty that Brenda is passionate about. She has helped make a huge difference in the Overdose Crisis, and has a strong history of leadership alongside others for racial justice. She is the only candidate that has released a plan to fully protect reproductive and civil liberty.
Brenda is a bold leader who knows how to get things done, and as Governor, she would move our brave little state in a bright direction.
As a young person, I am really anxious about the future. With the looming climate crisis, racial injustice, and poverty all on the line, I feel a sense of urgency to make change for the better. I am asking Vermonters to make a brighter future for my generation, good enough is not enough. We have to do better. I can put my trust in Brenda that, as Governor, she would make the change that is so needed.