Government Considers Universal Healthcare “Aspirational” – Despite Being the Law

Unlike most industrialized nations, the US does not have universal healthcare. This causes untold agony, suffering and extreme expense for consumers. Since 2008, the Vermont Workers Center has been organizing working class Vermonters to ensure that healthcare is a human right and provided as a social good.

On May 18, 2023, I decided to fight with the Nonviolent Medicaid Army and the Workers Center to prevent myself from being cut off from Medicaid. Over 30,000 people in Vermont have been cut off from Medicaid in the last year. This is atrocious! We need to expand Medicaid, not cut people off from healthcare. I decided to fight the government’s decision because, for my health, I take a medication that normally costs $12-15,000 per year, which is prohibitively expensive — though not nearly as expensive as going without it. During one year when I was not on it, my medical bills were over $100,000 (thankfully, paid by Medicaid).

So, I decided to appeal the cutoff decision. On May 18th, a small group gathered at my hearing in Burlington. You can see the footage here. My main argument was that I was entitled to healthcare under Act 48, a law passed in 2011 stating that healthcare should be a universal public good for everyone in the state. Unfortunately, this bill was passed without a funding mechanism and the government still has to live up to their promise. I argued that Act 48 meant healthcare is, by law, a social good to which we are all entitled, so I should remain on Medicaid. 

Unfortunately, the government decided to cut off my Medicaid based on my income being over the income guidelines. What was not expected was their response to my claim that all Vermonters deserve healthcare based on Act 48. The Attorney General responded, “While the petitioner correctly points out that Vermont passed a universal healthcare law in 2011, also known as Act 48, this effort was ultimately unsuccessful due to the state’s failure to identify a funding source. Thus, the principles embodied in Act 48 remain aspirational.” I was outraged by this response. When poor people break the law, we are violently thrown in jail and removed from our communities. Laws are not aspirational for the poor. The ruling class has decided that, despite mass support for universal healthcare, we deserve to suffer and die. 

No more. We must fight to move universal healthcare from “aspirational” to the law of the land. We already have the principles, we just need a funding source. This means we must fight to have the ruling class fund our care. Join the Nonviolent Medicaid Army and continue the fight!

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