Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign Calls for Equitable Financing of Vermont’s Universal Health Care System

Burlington, VT –  In response to recent remarks by Vermont Administration officials about the financing of universal healthcare, the Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign issued a statement today to remind politicians of the human rights principles of universality and equity in Vermont’s healthcare law, Act 48. The Campaign, which is run by the Vermont Workers’ Center, demands that the Administration adopts a financing plan that has individuals and businesses contribute based on their ability to pay, and that ensures comprehensive healthcare as a public good for all.

“There is no justification for delaying the universal, equitable healthcare system that the people of Vermont demanded in Act 48 and that we so desperately need. The most equitable way to finance a healthcare system is through income taxes, because income taxes are based ability to pay,” said Vermont Workers’ Center Director, James Haslam. “This means wealthier people and companies pay proportionally more, compared to those with less money.” The Campaign’s statement explains that this includes taxes on earned and unearned income, and on wealth. The Campaign also proposes a progressive payroll tax to be paid by employers only, as a way to capture businesses’ current contributions to the healthcare system.

The Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign, which is part of the new Put People First grassroots movement spearheaded by the Vermont Workers’ Center, also points to the link between healthcare financing and tax reform. It calls for an overhaul of Vermont’s tax code to make it more equitable and ensure that people pay taxes based on their ability to pay. The Campaign points to the fact that low and middle income people currently pay a higher share of their income in taxes than the wealthy top 5% of the population.

“Put People First involves thousands of people who are struggling to meet their fundamental needs. Their experiences show the urgent need for Vermont to adopt a People’s Budget that ensures we can meet all of our needs, and that finances our needs and rights – including healthcare – according to the principle of equity,” said James Haslam.

The full statement is available here.

The Healthcare Is a Human Right Campaign has also released a guidance document with detailed standards for the equitable financing of Green Mountain Care.