Thursday, April 10, 2014

Vermont - Who Knew?

Sarah Kliff at Vox has a really interesting piece about the move to single-payer healthcare in Vermont.  I had no idea this was going on up there.
Vermont prides itself on passing bills first. It was the first state to abolish slavery in 1777 and, in more recent history, pioneered same-sex civil unions with a 2000 law. It’s a tiny state that’s fiercely independent: Montpelier’s 7,000 residents like to boast that they are the smallest state capital, and the only one without a McDonald’s.
Vermont wasn’t satisfied with the health reform law that Washington passed in 2010, the Affordable Care Act. That law expands health coverage by growing the existing health-care system. Americans who already had health insurance have seen barely any change. Uninsured people have gotten covered through two existing programs: the individual insurance market (where millions of Americans now receive subsidies to help buy coverage) and Medicaid, a public program for low-income people.
[Vermont Governor, Peter] Shumlin had a different idea. He didn’t want to build on what existed. He wanted to blow up what exists and replace it with one state-owned and operated plan that would cover all of Vermont’s residents — an example he hopes other states could follow.
Shumlin ran for Governor on a single-payer platform, and he is well aware of the stakes in making sure it gets done right. The fight to successfully implement and pay for single-payer in Vermont is far from over, but it's encouraging to see lawmakers really fighting to improve the lives of the citizens they are supposed to represent.

As opposed to, say, the inmates running the asylum down here. Too bad Vermont is so damned cold.

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