Blue-dominated Vermont already had a healthcare system that ran heavy with government involvement prior to ObamaCare, but the small state of about 625,000 residents dove headfirst into the task of creating their own ObamaCare exchange with eventual plans to evolve the entire program into a full-on single-payer system through the next few years. So far, even just their ObamaCare exchange has been struggling to get off of the ground (and they happen to be spending more federal money on uninsured residents than other states with more of them, $167 million!), and their single-payer ambitions are evidently on some very rocky financial ground. Via Watchdog.org:
Now, even Democrats say that plan, called Green Mountain Care, isn’t ready for its proposed 2017 rollout, and Rep. Jim Condon told Vermont Watchdog it’s time for Gov. Peter Shumlin to shelve the ambitious plan immediately.
“The deadlines for proposing financing have been missed two years in a row now, so to me that’s very disappointing. It’s becoming clearer and clearer that there is no financing plan,” Condon told Vermont Watchdog.
As Vermont Watchdog reported, an independent report by the Washington, D.C.-based consulting firm Avalere Health concluded that the costs of Green Mountain Care would require Vermont to raise tax revenue roughly equal to the state’s tax collections from all sources today.
Condon, a Democrat from Colchester, said he thinks a single-payer system in Vermont would “cost more” than a couple of previous estimates. Those estimates pegged the cost for single-payer at anywhere from $1.6 billion to $2.2 billion annually.
“It’s a government program [so] I think it’s going to cost more than that. Given that, I think it would be in the best interest of Vermonters to redirect our energies away from single-payer health care to trying to improve the system we’re in now,” Condon added.
Part of the original state legislation included a condition that the single-payer system not have any negative implications for Vermont’s economy — but as the aforementioned Democratic lawmaker mentions, raising taxes to a pretty huge and perhaps even doubled degree seems like one of their only options for adequately financing the project. This definitely looks like yet another case of blue-state ambitions with eyes bigger than their collective stomach, no?
SHOT: Peter Shumlin: Look to states for progressive action (2013)