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I would like to ask you to support funding the study to expand Dr Dynasaur to every Vermont 26 and under regardless of age. I ask you this in part because, by allowing young Vermonters to access affordable, quality primary care earlier in their lives it makes it more likely to diagnose and identify expensive chronic conditions like hypertension or type II diabetes.

For these reasons, the Dr Dynasaur 2.0 expansion makes a lot of sense not only for young Vermonters but for the whole state.

Sincerely,

Jason Winston, RN
Montpelier, VT


 

I’m writing to express my support for the study to look at expanding Dr. Dynasaur to include everyone up through age 26. I’ve been the Chef/Owner of 3 Squares Café in Vergennes for 9 years. At 3 Squares Café, we strive to create a working environment that values our employees. We hire new employees above the minimum wage and offer paid sick and vacation time. These are the kind of investments that allow us to attract talented upstart chefs and service team members that help us to provide the best quality food and service to our customers.

One thing we likely could never afford to provide for our employees is health insurance. Health care costs are extremely unaffordable and are rising 7% each year. Since the inception of VT Health Connect, my wife and I have seen our premiums rise from roughly $650 per month to over $800 under the Bronze plan. Due to catastrophically high deductibles we’ve moved to a higher premium plan and now pay more than $900 per month for the Silver plan. This is officially more than my first mortgage in 2004 with taxes escrowed. I know we’re not the only ones with high health care expenses.

Most of my employees are young and struggling with the high costs of living in the state. Young people are graduating a four-year college with enormous debt and struggling to find jobs in this state that can pay a livable salary and offer good benefits. On top of student loan debt, high rent and housing costs, and other life expenses, Vermonters can’t keep up. If we want to make Vermont a viable place for young people and families, we need to address the cost of health care.

Of the roughly 630,000 people living in Vermont, almost 40% of them are on some form of public health care. These numbers really point to the fact that private health insurance is unaffordable for Vermonters and wages will never be high enough to allow us to keep up with the consistently rising costs of health care. And, even when Vermonters do purchase private coverage, 1/3 of them remain underinsured. This forces even those with insurance coverage to evaluate whether it makes more financial sense to put off necessary treatment as a way to avoid paying a high deductible.

I have been a supporter of a universal healthcare solution my entire adult life. My personal belief is that no one should live in fear of financial ruin due to accident or illness and unfortunately that is a reality of our current system. I see the expansion of Dr. Dynasaur as an important step toward achieving this goal. That being said I also realize that “utopia” isn’t cheap and funding this expansion will come with a serious price tag. Doing our due diligence in this matter is paramount in making sure that the right thing is being done for our families and communities.

The cost of health insurance is outrageous but it’s something that we have the power to change. Something must be done in order to ensure Vermont is a place that values the health, prosperity, and financial stability of it’s people.

Sincerely,

Matt Birong


 

I urge you to support the study to expand Dr Dynasaur because we have still not resolved the fact that high deductibles, rising premiums, and prescription drug costs make health care unaffordable for too many people--especially young Vermonters who are already struggling to make ends meet.

I’ve been very fortunate to have health insurance provided by mom’s employer for as long as I can remember. But growing up in Putney, I had lots of friends who were on Dr. Dynasaur. I didn’t know it in elementary school, but as I got older I became aware of how Dr. D provided health and security for many Vermont families. In middle school, a friend and teammate went to the doctor for an annual checkup. The doctor found a benign tumor that required special treatment. Thanks to Dr. D, he was able to get the essential treatment—one not readily available in Vermont—from a renowned expert in Boston. Dr. D made sure that he got the treatment he needed without placing a crippling economic burden on his family.

Dr. Dynasaur is a policy that says no child will be denied access to health care because of their economic status. It provides economic security to families who are already struggling to get by, and it ensures that every child has the potential to live a long lasting and healthy life. It is a program that, as wages stagnate for average Vermonters and economic inequality widens, is sadly more crucial than ever.

As a college student, the thought of life after graduation is daunting, to say the least. I hope to stay in Vermont after graduation, but with high costs of living and low entry level wages (often not be paired with an employer plan), high deductibles, premiums, and drug prices quickly become a barrier to access to health care.

Last month, I was diagnosed with a pretty severe case of Pneumonia. I waited more than two weeks before going to the doctor’s office because, on my ramen-for-every-meal budget, I was hoping to avoid out-of-pocket costs on a co-pay and medication. After foolishly hoping that I would get better for the two plus weeks, I began having a hard time breathing. I was admitted to the hospital and diagnosed with pneumonia. The out-of-pocket costs, despite my mom’s employer plan, came out to around $100.

And this is just a minor case. I have a close friend with an auto-immune and respiratory disease who, like me, often avoids medical attention when she is sick, not wanting to incur costs. Her chronic illness is obviously much worse than my pneumonia was, and yet she's afraid to go the doctors because of how expensive it is. And with good reason--in addition to graduating college with a mountain of student loan debt, she's also in medical debt that will take years to repay. And her (understandable) decision to avoid the high cost of medical attention has serious consequences--she went into anaphylactic shock and had to be rushed to the ER after ignoring symptoms, attempting to avoid another medical bill.

The fact that our health care system perpetuates a reality in which young people are afraid to seek medical attention because of the costs associated with is immoral and, most importantly, bad for our long term health outcomes and costs.

So many of the young people I know in this state, whether I grew up with them down in Windham County or whether they came here for college, want to chart a future in our state. By expanding Dr. D we can make our state more affordable for young people, as well ensure that health care is available to those in need.

Sincerely,

Lachlan Francis
Putney, VT

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2.0 PROMISE

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