Friday, May 18, 2012

Vermont on Course to Single-Payer System by 2017

Vermont's road to its first in the nation, single-payer system named Green Mountain Care began within four months of Gov. Peter Shumlin's transition to power in 2011.  That year, the governor and legislators commissioned Harvard economist William Hsiao to conduct a cost-benefit analysis on the best healthcare options for the state.  After analyzing many models that included fully-private systems, Hsiao recommended the single payer because of its potential 25% savings to consumers, businesses and government.

This week, Gov. Shumlin signed into law a bill that builds another major section in Vermont's road to single payer by creating federally mandated by Obamacare healthcare exchanges, which will introduce a marketplace for individuals and small businesses to purchase policies from private insurers as well as multi-state and state-sponsored plans.  Uninsured  residents meeting specific income requirements will receive federal subsidies to purchase policies.

When Gov. Shumlin laid the first bricks in Vermont's road to a state funded and operated system, he also established a five-member board charged with setting reimbursement rates and delivering a financing plan by 2013.  Now that the details of the exchanges are being worked out for a 2014 launch, next step for the state is another federal waiver request to operate a fully functioning single-payer system by 2017.   

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