At Third Root Community Health Center, we think that everyone should have access to our services. We also know that all of us do not have equal financial resources. The richest top 10% of adults in the world own about 85% of the world’s wealth. Although we did not create this economic situation, we participate in it every day, and for many, it has become invisible. We have been taught that this is just the way things have always been, so this disparity becomes normalized to each of us in our early years. We are taught to not even think about class differences. The truth, in part, is that the class structure benefits no one. All participants in this system suffer from alienation, exploitation, and oppression, whether as a target or non-target. Everyone is hurt by oppression.
At Third Root Community Health Center, we recognize the havoc that our current economic system (capitalism) has created, and envision another model. However, even as we work toward a new model in building community, fighting for justice, and creating accountable institutions we realize that we are not there yet. We live in a divided city laden with disparities. The sliding scale is one way of acknowledging differences in wealth, income, costs, and privilege and actively address the economic disparities in our communities and society. The sliding scale is a way to say no to the ways things are and yes to the ways they can be while providing healthcare for all.
How Does the Sliding Scale Work?
A sliding scale is a tool for ensuring equal accessibility to our services, regardless of financial resources, and it requires your active participation. If a sliding scale is implemented effectively, everyone pays a similar percentage of their income for the same services. This way, the cost of our services is not fleeting pocket change for some people and a big commitment to other people.
Sliding scales are often based on individual income levels, with people of higher incomes paying more. At Third Root, we also take into account specific costs that different groups of people face that the larger population does not, connecting those costs to the larger picture of privilege and oppression.
To figure out what fee you should pay on our sliding scale, we have a form that you fill out and retain for your own reflection and purposes. We will never see the form. When you have finished completing the form, check our annual income chart or monthly income chart to determine the appropriate fee for our services. In a society that never talks about class, yet retains enormous class differences, we acknowledge how difficult this process can be; thinking about class issues provokes a lot of fear, regret, anger, and other feelings. It is, however, an important part of working towards providing equal access to our services for everyone, and taking a step towards economic justice.