Vermont News Briefs

Single-payer puts Vermont on the national stage

Vermont’s plans for a single-payer health care system have catapulted it into the national spotlight. With so much attention being paid to health care as the Affordable Care Act moves from rolling-out to up-and-running, Americans (or at least media and policy types) are asking what’s next?

Filmmaker Michael Moore, of "Fahrenheit 9/11" fame, recently penned an op-ed for the New York Times on the failures and successes of Obamacare, which concluded with the proclamation that Vermont’s single-payer experiment could “change everything,” adding the president “knew in his heart that a single-payer, Medicare-for-all model was the true way to go.”

For just about everything you wanted to know about the state's health care exchange, but were afraid to ask, go to VTDigger's user's guide to Vermont Health Connect.

The guide includes an interactive chart that helps you find your estimated subsidy level instantly.

Moore, who investigated the U.S. health insurance and pharmaceutical industries in his 2007 documentary "Sicko," pans the Affordable Care Act as a pro-insurance industry law that does little to address the underlying cost crisis driving health care spending.

“That’s why corporate money will soon flood into Vermont to crush (single-payer). The legislators who’ll go to the mat for this will need all the support they can get: If you live east of the Mississippi, look up the bus schedule to Montpelier,” Moore concludes.

In any case, Moore’s call to action could be good for tourism.

The Nation magazine awarded Vermont’s single-payer experiment the “Most Valuable State Initiative” in its 2013 Progressive Honor Roll.

An article in The Atlantic from late December asks: Can Vermont pull off single-payer? It notes that “While the national individual health market is both viewed as inefficient by experts and wildly unpopular with most users, its overhaul has still caused uproar. That could be a bad omen for Vermont, which is upending the far more popular employer-sponsored healthcare system.”

The piece also quotes Sen. Bernie Sanders reminding people that “God didn’t create the fact that employers are responsible for healthcare for their employees.”

If Vermont can implement a single-payer system, the article says, it could serve as a national model for other states. As for whether it will work in Vermont, the answer appears to be: Stay tuned.

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Morgan True

About Morgan

Morgan True is VTDigger's Burlington bureau chief covering the city and Chittenden County. A Seattle native, he graduated from Boston University with a Bachelor of Science in Journalism before working for several publications in Massachusetts. He came to VTDigger in December 2013 from The Brockton Daily Enterprise, where he covered government, schools and hospitals in a city of about 100,000 people. Before joining The Enterprise, he worked for The Associated Press in Concord, N.H., where he served as a relief reporter in the Statehouse. He previously worked for The Quincy (Mass.) Patriot Ledger and as an intern at the Worcester (Mass.) Telegram & Gazette.


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