The real heroes

To the Editor:

The editorial "Credit Where It's Due," (Caledonian Record 12/26/14) hit it exactly on target. Let us give the credit where it is due. Let us give credit to those courageous heroes of the Ethan Allen Institute battling the "various follies of collectivized health care (Medicare, Medicaid, the Veterans Administration) who have so persistently spelled out the advantages of "consumer driven health care."" Exactly what "consumer driven" health care means is not clear, but here are some samples of these advantages from the health care world before the Affordable Care Act:

*A state of Vermont survey in 2012 found that one out of every twenty working adults is uninsured. This translates to about 42,760 Vermonters, 0r about 6.8% of the state's population. (http://www.dfr.vermont.gov/sites/default/files/VHHIS_2012_Final_Report.pdf). I

*The same survey found that in late 2012 58.6% of Vermonters lived in families that paid out $1,000 in out-of-pocket costs. This is about 240,973 Vermonters. A further 13.5% (84,288 Vermonters) were in families which paid more than $5,000 in co-pays and deductibles for health care. One out of every six Vermonters (94,624 or 15.1% of our citizens) "reported being contacted by a collection agency about unpaid medical bills."

*A report by Families USA found that 154 Vermonters died between 2005-2010 for lack of access to affordable health care - a Vermonter every week and a half during this period (http://familiesusa.org/sites/default/files/product_documents/Dying-for-Coverage.pdf). This figure has no doubt increased since then.

The real heroes are Dr. Deb Richter, Peter Sterling, Vermont Health For All, the Vermont Worker's Center, and so many others. They have persistently fought against long odds to stop these kinds of statistics and bring health care for all Vermonters as a public good, not as a consumer product for profit.

Walter Carpenter

Montpelier, Vt.

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