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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