Vermont: Ten years later, single-payer advocates gear up to give it another shot


via Black Chronicle New Service:

Nearly a decade after then-Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin nixed a plan for a publicly funded system, advocates have renewed a push to transform health care with a single-payer system.

About 60 House Democrats have signed onto a proposal that calls for eventually replacing private health insurance premiums in the state with a public financing system. This week, supporters of the plan announced the creation of a universal healthcare caucus to push for the approval of the single-payer system.

The bill’s primary sponsor, Rep. Brian Cina, D-Burlington, said despite efforts to bring down the rate of uninsured Vermonters, thousands of people are still without healthcare coverage. He said those who may be eligible for healthcare plans have “fallen through the holes of a tattered social safety net.”

“It took a mass movement for Vermont to leave the nation by committing to providing healthcare as a public good, not a commodity, it is going to take a mass movement to fulfill the dream and guarantee healthcare as a human right,” he said in a statement.

Vermont famously (infamously?) passed a similar bill a decade ago, only to see the entire plan fall apart when then-Governor Peter Shumlin determined that the increase in payroll and income taxes necessary to fund the program would have devastated the state economy.

Since then there have been several other failed attempts to enact single payer in other states as well, including Colorado, where their "ColoradoCare" initiative was crushed by a 4:1 margin by voters in 2016, and California, where repeated attempts to pass a single payer system have more recently been walked back in favor of legislation which simply requires the state health secretary to "offer recommendations" on crafting a federal waiver to redirect federal Medicare & Medicaid funds towards some sort of single payer system.

We'll see what Vermont comes up with this time around, though. You never know...