Supreme Court Ruling on Health Reform Vindicates Vermont’s Path to Tax-Funded Universal Healthcare, Says Workers’ Center

Now, More than Ever, Vermont Can Lead the Way: Healthcare Is a Human Right campaign leaders say ruling on health reform vindicates Vermont’s path to tax-funded universal healthcare; growing number of national public figures endorse the Vermont model

BURLINGTON, VT –  Leaders of the Vermont Workers’ Center’s Healthcare Is a Human Right campaign, in an initial reaction to the Supreme Court’s ruling on the Affordable Care Act, interpreted the decision as a vindication of Vermont’s own path toward a human rights-based universal healthcare system. With this decision, the Supreme Court confirmed government’s responsibility for ensuring healthcare for all, which the people of Vermont have been demanding for many years. Healthcare Is a Human Right campaign leaders pointed out that because the Affordable Care Act is expected to fall far short of achieving universal access to care, there is an urgent need for Vermont to continue its pioneering approach to health reform. While the Affordable Care Act relies on mandating individuals to buy health insurance as a commercial product, Green Mountain Care will provide healthcare as a public good to all, financed through tax-based contributions.

“Vermont’s tax-based, public financing approach to health reform is well-placed to become a model for other states to follow,“ said Vermont Workers’ Center President, Peg Franzen. “The Supreme Court is far from alone in finding the commercial treatment of healthcare questionable and in pointing to the government’s responsibility instead. Vermont’s treatment of healthcare as a public good can lead the way toward a truly universal healthcare system, in our state and nationwide.”

Vermont’s health reform is already gaining increasing national attention as a model for achieving truly universal and equitable healthcare. Expressing their support for the Healthcare Is a Human Right (HCHR) campaign, national public figures, including Dr. Paul Farmer, Prof. Noam Chomsky, Dr. Patch Adams, Wendell Potter, Sen. Bernie Sanders and Prof. Cornel West have called on Vermont and the country as a whole to treat healthcare as a public good and human right. Last week, the Vermont Workers’ Center and national human rights organizations launched a nationwide solidarity initiative called Vermont Can Lead the Way (, which garnered numerous high-profile endorsers in just a few days.

"The Supreme Court’s ruling should motivate other states to follow Vermont’s path toward a tax-funded, universal healthcare system. Now, more than ever, our state can lead the way for states across the country to do the same," said Vermont Workers’ Center Director, James Haslam.

Haslam also pointed to the urgency of protecting the implementation of Vermont’s universal healthcare system in the face of attacks by anti-health-reform groups. Haslam said, “The people of Vermont started on the road to universal healthcare long before the ACA was passed, and we will continue to work together until we cross the finish line. Through our grassroots organizing, we are building a broad-based, independent movement for the human right to healthcare in Vermont. This effort is increasingly gaining national recognition. Together we will hold our governor accountable for shepherding the implementation of a truly universal and equitable healthcare system.”

Vermont Can Lead the Way and the HCHR campaign call for a move away from focusing solely on the issue of cost containment: ”The true cost of our market-based healthcare system is in human lives, and we are morally bound to provide a system that embodies the values of universality and equity,” said Vermont Workers’ Center President, Peg Franzen. “Public financing is a crucial condition for ‘bending the cost curve,’ but our first priority must be the elimination of human suffering caused by treating healthcare as a commodity.  We must create a healthcare system that fully realizes our human right to healthcare and provides healthcare as a public good.”

HCHR is a groundbreaking grassroots effort launched by the Vermont Workers’ Center in 2008 that led to the 2011 passage of universal healthcare legislation through Act 48. The law created a roadmap for a publicly financed, universal healthcare system, grounded in human rights principles. Vermont is now on course to be the first state in the country to provide healthcare as a public good, mandated by law, rather than a market commodity.

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Media Contact: Avery Book, , 802-343-7565, Vermont Workers' Center