On Aug. 8, the Green Mountain Care Board approved rate increases of 12.4 and 10.1 percent for next year's Blue Cross and MVP plans on Vermont Health Connect. With its decision, the Board has now allowed Blue Cross premiums to rise 58 percent in just six years — an astonishing rise in cost at a time when wages for working people have remained stagnant.

Last month, dozens of Healthcare is a Human Right Campaign supporters picketed and gave heartfelt testimony at a public forum on health insurance rates in Montpelier. No one, other than insurance company executives, had asked for higher premiums.

Our elected officials hold the power and responsibility to resolve this crisis by fulfilling the promise of a universal, publicly financed health care system. Lawmakers must also improve upon what is already working well: Vermont's Medicaid and Dr. Dynasaur programs which together, provide health care and other services for one in three residents of our state.

In 2011, the Vermont state government enacted a law functionally establishing the first state-level single-payer health care system in the United States. Vermont residents are still waiting to see that law put into practice.

One thing is sure, this won’t be the last time Blue Cross and MVP campaign to jack up premiums. Question is, will we stand our ground? Let’s work together to make universal health care a reality for Vermont.

Neville Berle


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