Tags: Healthcare Reform | single-payer | healthcare | vermont | failing

Report: Vermont Abandons Single-Payer Health Care Effort

By    |   Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 08:13 PM

The liberal dream of single-payer health care for the United States suffered a setback on Wednesday in one of its proving grounds, Vermont, whose Democratic governor said he is halting an effort years in the making to cover all state residents, Vox reports.

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin — a champion of universal, publicly funded health insurance since he assumed office in 2011 — told reporters on Wednesday that the timing for a rollout is wrong.

After passing legislation in 2011 to authorize a statewide single-payer system — an idea popular with liberal critics of the national Affordable Care Act — officials found it would cost $2 billion or more each year in a state with $2.7 billion in annual revenues, Vox reports.

The ambitious project, modeled on European public health systems and dubbed Green Mountain Care, was showing cracks in recent weeks as cost estimates leaked out, and after the state fired controversial health-care consultant Jonathan Gruber.

A state-appointed panel, the Green Mountain Care Board, calculated that financing single-payer would require a new 11.5 percent income tax on all state residents, Vox reports.

Shumlin told Vox in March that the stakes for a single-payer pilot program were high, saying, "If we screw it up, it will set back this effort for a long time."

It wasn't clear on Wednesday when Vermont might resume the effort, Vox reports.

In November, the state parted company with MIT economist Gruber and canceled the remainder of his six-figure contract after his now-infamous videotaped remarks regarding the ACA became public.

A Shumlin spokesman at the time condemned Gruber for saying that President Barack Obama's signature health law was written to conceal its tax increases and that passage relied on the "stupidity" of voters.

The governor's office also said after the firing that other single-payer consultants were still on board. It wasn't clear on Wednesday whether those contracts had been terminated as well after the governor's announcement.

Shumlin was re-elected on Nov. 4 by 1 percentage point over a little-known Republican challenger, and because neither candidate achieved 50 percent of the vote, the state legislature will not declare a winner until lawmakers reconvene in January.

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The liberal dream of single-payer health care for the United States suffered a setback on Wednesday in one of its proving grounds, Vermont, whose Democratic governor said he is halting an effort years in the making to cover all state residents, Vox reports. Vermont Gov....
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2014-13-17
Wednesday, 17 Dec 2014 08:13 PM
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