Every indicator says we are rapidly approaching the implosion of healthcare in Vermont and probably the nation. The 2021 Vermont Household Health Insurance Survey indicates that 38% of Vermonters under age 65 are underinsured, as are 32.3% 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% 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?
It will be interesting to see what the consequences of the implosion are. 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?”