The subject of today’s sermon is racial inequity in health care, and more specifically, racial inequity in access to Covid-19 vaccines. We have two readings. First, a legislative hearing about racial inequity in health care. Second, a racial equity activist’s efforts, apparently ignored, to get answers about Vermont’s vaccination policy.
As you can see above, Black and Hispanic Vermonters are far more likely to contract Covid than their white counterparts. And yet, the state isn’t doing much (if anything) to address the disparity in its vaccine policy.
More on that in a moment, but let’s turn to the hearing. The House Health Care Committee is considering H.210, a bill addressing racial disparities in health care. Wednesday morning, the panel heard from a nationally known expert in the field: Dr. Maria Mercedes Avila, a UVM prof and member of the Governor’s Task Force on Racial Equity.
Dr. Avila spent the better part of two hours unspooling a wide-ranging overview of those disparities. Their roots in history, their scope and persistence, their effects, and what can be done to address and eliminate them. It was a sobering presentation.
The above was posted on Twitter by Ellen Barry, regional correspondent for the New York Times (last seen publishing a big piece on the Daniel Banyai/West Pawlet standoff). It’s the front cover of Stratton, Vermont’s annual report.
And as you can see, it’s just chock full of Vermont’s bloated sense of superiority that we all know and love.
Okay, well, it’s a rural place tucked in the middle of southern Vermont, so you might excuse a little short-sightedness and/or pig-ignorance.
But Stratton? Its biggest industry is tourism. Its biggest employer is the Stratton Mountain Ski Resort, which boasts of being “The Best Ski Resort Near New York City.” The resort couldn’t be more welcoming to outsiders, because its profitability depends on them.
Furthermore, according to Zillow, the average home price in Stratton is a robust $750,939. Prices have risen by 8% during Our Pandemic Year. How many Stratton homes have been purchased by non-Vermonters since last March, and before?
How much does the town’s bottom line benefit from outsider dollars? What would become of Stratton if there were no outsiders?