The Senate and the House of Representatives agree: single-payer health care is the only way to provide real coverage for all. Insurance companies are never going to do the right thing and put people before profits, so the only option is to go around them, and politicians in both houses have voted to create a real health care system.
In Vermont, that is.
Mary Gerisch of the Vermont Workers Center joined us last month on GRITtv to explain the grassroots organizing campaign that finally resulted in victory in the state legislature. She noted that two years ago, they were told that it was not politically possible to pass single-payer legislation, but they didn’t take no for an answer.
The insurance companies will no doubt keep fighting this bill—even one small state single-payer plan could provide a powerful example for the rest of the country. Already, California Democrats are reviving a bill that would create single-payer care in that state—and it’s already moved out of the Health Committee.
We’ve spoken before to Wendell Potter, formerly a CIGNA executive, about the way the health insurance industry fought national health care reform, and we know that misinformation, attack ads, and millions of dollars will be flowing Vermont’s way as the bill moves through reconciliation and toward the governor’s desk.
But for now, Vermont—and all of us—should be celebrating the proof that a grassroots campaign can lead to victory for single-payer advocates and progressives in general. We’re that much closer to recognizing health care as a human right. And much closer to the big fight which will show really, which side our for-profit insurers are on. Keep an eye on Vermont, people. An alternative model. . . the US has invaded small countries for less.
The F Word is a regular commentary by Laura Flanders, the host of GRITtv and editor of At The Tea Party, out now from OR Books. GRITtv broadcasts weekdays on DISH Network and DIRECTv, on cable, and online at GRITtv.org and TheNation.com. Follow GRITtv or GRITlaura on Twitter and be our friend on Facebook.