Vermont’s soon-to-be single-payer health system reminds progressive groups of final goal

posted at 11:48 am on May 26, 2011 by Tina Korbe

The Democratic governor of Vermont wants a single-payer health system for his state and, today, he plans to sign a bill that would advance that goal.

The bill Gov. Peter Shumlin plans to sign on Thursday would create a panel whose goal would be to figure out how to pay for a new system intended to reduce the rate of overall health-cost increases. …

Vermont’s idea is based on the concept of a health system where a public entity funds all care. It is popular among liberals in the U.S. and common abroad. …

Figuring out exactly how the plan would be financed is the job of the five-member board. The governor’s office says new taxes would account for some of the cost.

Instead of paying premiums, employers and workers likely would subsidize the plan through taxes. Gov. Shumlin says the administrative simplification of having one payer would save the state $500 million a year.

Spurred by the possibility of this state-level “success,” progressive groups have mounted pressure on Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius to grant the state of Vermont an Obamacare waiver — an ironically necessary step to establish a single-payer system in the state.

Physicians for a National Health Program and the blog Firedoglake are launching a petition to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius that calls the Vermont plan “an important model for our nation.” …

Margaret Flowers, of the doctor’s group, emails hopefully: “Of course, a national single payer health system would not require waivers and would be a huge political win for the President.”

If this isn’t a reminder of what’s at stake in the fight to repeal the unaptly titled Affordable Care Act, I don’t know what is.

 


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Instead of paying premiums, employers and workers likely would subsidize the plan through taxes.

So then, those who pay taxes would be paying the “premiums” of those that don’t or won’t work and pay taxes.

Big John on May 26, 2011 at 1:57 PM

My solutions
1) Examine why health care is so expensive. Target the most likely, 1) Over regulation 2) Crony Capitalism 3) Excessive medical torts 4) Medicare/Medicaid that pays doctors and hospitals and other providers pennies for every dollar they spend on the patient as well as the source of corruption and waste.
2) Give hospitals and other healthcare providers incentives to open inexpensive or free clinics. Medical doctors, nurses and other health care providers will be willing to volunteer for these clinics with the same quality of care they give to in house patients by tax credits, community hours for their license renewal among other things.
3) Give the American people a chance to have health insurance out of state. Imagine buying health care insurance like you buy car insurance from Geico, Progressive, Allstate and others. They compare prices and buy what they afford and they still get covered even if they buy it from New Mexico while living in New York.
4) Give tax credits and incentives for people and companies to established hospitals, discover and produce medicines, build and mass produce excellent medical machines like CT, MRI, DaVinci robotic systems that are less expensive than their counterparts but are well made and much better than their highly priced competitors.

DinobotPrime on May 26, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Any guesses how long it will take before the huge surge of taxpayer’s deciding Vermont isn’t the place to live and leave the state? Doctor’s leaving the state? People start squalling about the wait time for doctors and how bad the care is getting? Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

TulsAmerican on May 26, 2011 at 2:07 PM

No, the idiots would just go to another state and repeat the same thing all over again.

DinobotPrime on May 26, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Average life span of those who “Led the way” over the top in the trenches of WWI: 49 seconds.

Think about it.

mojo on May 26, 2011 at 2:08 PM

Why has Vermont not done this already?

This is the question that is NEVER asked!

What this bill really says is that the socialists in Vermont already know such a system is UNSUSTAINABLE and are looking for someone else to pay for it!

Freddy on May 26, 2011 at 2:09 PM

Any guesses how long it will take before the huge surge of taxpayer’s deciding Vermont isn’t the place to live and leave the state? Doctor’s leaving the state? People start squalling about the wait time for doctors and how bad the care is getting? Be careful what you ask for, you just might get it.

TulsAmerican on May 26, 2011 at 2:07 PM

As I said before, there aren’t a lot of Vermonters to begin with. There’s something like 630,000 of them and, if they lose 60,000 of them, they’re in danger of dropping behind Wyoming and becoming the smallest state in the US.

With any luck, they’ll move to Massachusetts if they go anywhere.

teke184 on May 26, 2011 at 2:09 PM

I was reading some discussion by the Progressives on single payer in VT recently. I interpreted it as this. Blue Cross has the majority of the market in VT. To get single payer they need BC to work with the Govt (driving out other competition) and more importantly Big Business needs to be on board also (think walmart). They are the key to paying for it. “Free healthcare” through a tax on business that will be passed on to the price of goods. Who buys the goods? The public. Either way, the public pays. The question is, will the public understand that?

DWB on May 26, 2011 at 2:21 PM

This from the Daily Mail in London:

Girl, 5, dies of meningitis after THREE GPs fail to spot killer disease

I read this article, and it appears the doctors were clearly incompetent. The warning symptoms of meningitis were there–I can’t believe they missed the stiff neck. I can’t believe the mother didn’t realize the significance as well.

This is a warning to Libs in the US who think you can do whatever you please w/o consequences.

Gravity doesn’t cease to exist just because you decide that it doesn’t. The same for economic consequences. (The same for a lot of things including family, marriage and child development). There are parameters of existence–and they are eventually realized, sometimes disastrously.

INC on May 26, 2011 at 2:23 PM

I was reading some discussion by the Progressives on single payer in VT recently. I interpreted it as this. Blue Cross has the majority of the market in VT. To get single payer they need BC to work with the Govt (driving out other competition) and more importantly Big Business needs to be on board also (think walmart).

DWB on May 26, 2011 at 2:21 PM

Couple of points on that. The Blue Cross/Blue Shield plan in VT is managed by Wellpoint/Anthem, which also does business in 15 other states. They were singled out for their opposition to Obamacare, especially after they leaked to the WSJ the results of a study they were forced to do at the behest of some Democrat lawmakers showing that costs of health insurance would rise far beyond the rosy numbers being reported.
Second, there is no advantage to staying in a state where reimbursement rates, covered procedures, and other aspects of your business are dictated by politicians and not business principles.
Nope, things look bleak for Vermonters. They may be able to cobble together a consortium of little insurance plans but they will not be able to absorb the costs. With the new Obamacare regulations related to how health insurance companies must do business even the big guys are going to struggle to meet the mandates.

Just A Grunt on May 26, 2011 at 2:32 PM

Looks like the health care facilities and providers in Vermont’s surrounding states are set to make a killing (no pun intended).

RebeccaH on May 26, 2011 at 2:45 PM

DinobotPrime on May 26, 2011 at 1:59 PM

Great ideas…everything you mentioned is logical and would probably work….but you’re missing the point. The liberal model isn’t about improving healthcare. It’s about control. Period.

search4truth on May 26, 2011 at 2:48 PM

Search4truth
Control and Power. Honestly, it’s about the elite few and the unwashed masses. If you want these people to be honest. The only people they want to see at Mag Mile in Chicago, Park Avenue in New York, Beverly Hills in LA and other posh places are people like them and being treated at elite hospitals, living in walled communities and studying at elite universities without dealing with the proles that will contaminate their world view is the foundation of their model. Hell,give them a choice that in order to save this planet, we must go and develop our space program to develop technology for space colonization or wipe out 6.4 billion people, they will choose the latter than the former.

DinobotPrime on May 26, 2011 at 3:05 PM

A quick Google search shows only 17 hospitals in the entire state of Vermont.
http://www.theagapecenter.com/Hospitals/Vermont.htm

A lot of Vermonters are likely crossing the New Hampshire border to get their health care at places like Dartmouth-Hitchcock Medical Center.

Will Vermont residents still be able to go to New Hampshire for their health care? Who will pay for it?

wren on May 26, 2011 at 3:34 PM

Any guesses how long it will take before the huge surge of taxpayer’s deciding Vermont isn’t the place to live and leave the state?

I did it long ago when they started the statewide property tax and made the environmental regs even worse.

The place is circling the drain and the biggest private employer there, IBM, is less than half what it was a decade ago and threatening to get even smaller if they don’t get breaks on the health care and electrical costs they’ve got there.

nerdbert on May 26, 2011 at 3:36 PM

Any guesses how long it will take before the huge surge of taxpayer’s deciding Vermont isn’t the place to live and leave the state?

67% of voters voted for Bernie Sanders, self-proclaimed socialist. Vermonters aren’t going anywhere.

xblade on May 26, 2011 at 3:40 PM

Between 2004 and 2008, health-care spending in Vermont grew at an annual rate of 8%, three percentage points higher than the national rate. Among the cost drivers is that Vermont requires insurers to offer coverage to all applicants regardless of their health status.

An idea of what’s in store for all of us.

unclesmrgol on May 26, 2011 at 3:54 PM

Leftist single payer healthcare radicals like to the make the argument like this: Who do you want to make the allocation of health care resource decisions: a government panel of experts and doctors or an insurance company’s accountants? The real question is: do you want the freedom to shop around amongst a bunch of companies competing for my business or have a bunch of government bureaucrats with their personal biases and corruptions and political intrigues and laziness making those decisions? The free market will produce a better result every time

LakeLevel on May 26, 2011 at 4:01 PM

PS, what is your cite for New Hampshire now being the insurance capitol of the US? I was unaware of that. Tourism is still our #1 industry as far as I know.

Del Dolemonte on May 26, 2011 at 1:30 PM

Cites? I don’t need no stinkin’ cites!

But, since you asked, I am an anomaly. I am conservative through-and-through (freakishly by some descriptions), yet, I was born with infinite wisdom and knowledge.

I can’t explain it either. As smart as a leftard, moral as a conservative.

And, no smart-alecky response is warranted, so if you do I’ll be forced to use some cerebral ju-jit-su and confuse you to death.

BobMbx on May 26, 2011 at 5:17 PM

I also something about how Howard Dean, responsible for this “Medicaid for all” plan in Vermont when he was Governor there, bankrupted the state.

Requiring federal bailout.

But don’t let that stop Vermont from doing it all over again. ::eyes rolling::

Lourdes on May 26, 2011 at 5:38 PM

I also something about how Howard Dean, responsible for this “Medicaid for all” plan in Vermont when he was Governor there, bankrupted the state.

Requiring federal bailout.

But don’t let that stop Vermont from doing it all over again. ::eyes rolling::

Lourdes on May 26, 2011 at 5:38 PM

I also RECALL something about…

Lourdes on May 26, 2011 at 11:21 PM

If this isn’t a reminder of what’s at stake in the fight to repeal the unaptly titled Affordable Care Act, I don’t know what is.

The problem is that Republicans will try to fight it off as a threat to Medicare, that other single payer socialistic health care program that Paul Ryan is determined “save”.

snoopicus on May 27, 2011 at 8:39 AM

Reports are that for a measly $800 million Massachusetts went from a 95% coverage of medical for its citizens to a 98% coverage; but will there be lessons learned in Vermont. I guess not since it will be government in action. Usually government ignores their own panels – see Obama and his debt panel.

amr on May 27, 2011 at 8:49 AM

Bottom line is…..Somebody has to pay. You can bet the people on this panel figuring out how to pay for health care are going to protect themselves and their friends from paying. Guess who’s left to pay the bill?

Herb on May 27, 2011 at 9:09 AM

Hello freeloaders/Goodbye taxpayers.

Give it two years tops and those Vermont voters can vote for any Karl Marx clone they like, but there still won’t be any other people’s money left to pay the bills.

erp on May 27, 2011 at 12:24 PM

Please people. Vermont is not some socialist utopia. Yeah we had Howard Dean, but he wasn’t nearly as bad then as he is now seeing as he lowered our income taxes, balanced the budget and was a supporter/supported of/by the NRA. Yeah he had Dr. Dinosaur and supported/instituted Civil Unions (which frankly who gives a sh*t about).

Yeah we have Ben and Jerry, Phish and a ton of other hippies, but we also have a strong tradition of supporting/joining the military. “Manhattanites” and other liberal bastions can’t make that claim, especially seeing as Vermonters per capita suffered more deaths in Iraq than any other state (we have an incredibly tiny population, but still).

Shock the Monkey on May 27, 2011 at 4:46 PM

That being said, Shumlin is an idiot and this won’t work. I voted for Brian Dubie.

Shock the Monkey on May 27, 2011 at 4:48 PM

The beauty of the founders is that in crafting the constitution they included the tenth amendment which enshrines federalism as a key element in a republic. In other words, if the idiots in Vermont want to go socialized medicine, Vermontians who disapprove of tyranny can move to another state. Freedom. That’s the key. Freedom. Americans love freedom. Americans love to be free to choose their destiny and not be told by the government what to do and when to do it. Ahhhh, yes…………………freedom.

Mark7788 on May 28, 2011 at 1:50 AM

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