By Clare Fauke
PNHP, November 23, 2020
The Vermont Medical Society (VMS) overwhelmingly endorsed a resolution supporting a single-payer national health program, also known as Medicare for All, at its annual meeting on Saturday, Nov. 7. The VMS, which represents 2,400 Vermont physicians and physician assistants, is only the second state medical society in the U.S. after Hawaii to formally endorse a national single-payer health care program.
The historic vote by VMS follows a year of rapid movement among physicians and other health professionals towards single-payer reform. In January 2020, the 159,000-member American College of Physicians announced its endorsement of Medicare for All, along with a “universal public choice” reform model. In August, the 3,300-member Society of General Internal Medicine endorsed a similar resolution. Meanwhile, more than 50 municipalities have passed resolutions endorsing Medicare for All, including major cities such as Philadelphia, Detroit, Seattle, San Francisco, Minneapolis, and Cook County, which includes Chicago. These resolutions reflect growing public support for a national health program: Last week, a Fox News election exit poll found that 72% of voters now favor Medicare for All reform.
The VMS resolution was introduced by Dr. Jane Katz Field, a pediatrician and vice president of the Vermont chapter of Physicians for a National Health Program (VTPNHP). “The need for universal single-payer health care has never been more urgent,” said Dr. Katz Field. “Thirty million Americans were already uninsured before the COVID-19 pandemic, and millions more continue to lose coverage as they lose their jobs. Today the Vermont Medical Society recognizes the need to move away from a broken health system that ties health care to employment, and towards a system of equitable and universal coverage.”
By Don McCanne, M.D.
It has been a long, slow process, but we are now seeing support for single payer reform moving into the leadership of organized medicine – the state medical associations and even the AMA. Young physicians and medical students recognize the serious deficiencies in health care in the United States, and they are determined to do something about it. With their efforts, we may soon see formal endorsement of Medicare for All by their delegate bodies, eventually including the AMA. It can’t come too soon.
At this Thanksgiving time, we can be thankful that this movement for health care justice for all is coming from our future health care professionals. We will be in good hands.
Stay informed! Visit www.pnhp.org/qotd to sign up for daily email updates.