Politicians, health advocates and journalists are wading through a new report outlining possible funding options for single-payer healthcare.
Vermonters currently spend 20 cents of every dollar they earn on health care. Proponents of a state run health care system say we could be getting more for less. On Friday top officials with the Governor's team explained a long awaited financing plan for a single-payer system drawn up by the University of Massachusetts.
In 2017 the study authors project individuals and employers will be paying 2.2 billion dollars for health care coverage. They say replacing private insurance with a publicly funded system will save 285 million dollars. Taxpayers will need to come up with 1.6 billion dollars to fund the new single-payer system.
"We're not talking about new money, we're talking about people paying in a different format and paying less," said Robin Lunge, Director of Health Care Reform for the Shumlin administration.
"We don't agree at this point that the numbers even add up," said Jeff Wennberg with Vermonters for Health Care Freedom.
According to state law, the financing plan for Vermont's single payer system was to be submitted by January 15th. But opponents say not only is this plan late, it also lacks detail on how the government will come up with 1.6-billion in taxes. "The governor, through this report or previously, has avoided all discussion on how this is going to be financed, meanwhile implementation of these reforms continues to pace," Wennberg said.
But those who were instrumental in crafting the law believe the report is a step in the right direction.
"What they gave was a menu of options that will be presented to Vermonters so Vermonters can decide," said Dr. Deb Richter with Vermont for Single Payer. "It's coming out of your left or right pocket but you're paying for it in taxes, lower wages, so we're already paying for it."
"Yeah, it's left pocket right pocket but the big question is are these number reliable and how do they shift the responsibility?" Wennberg said.
It's a billion dollar debate that's sure to continue as Vermont experiments with how to pay for health care.
Friday, May 24 2013 11:30 PM EDT2013-05-25 03:30:10 GMT
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A hole in the road closed one of the routes into Canada Friday.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:17 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:17:06 GMT
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Friday, May 24 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:54:18 GMT
Vermont State Police say the following roads have been closed due to flooding:UNDERHILL: VERMONT ROUTE 15, CILLEYHILL POKER HILL ROAD NORTH UNDERHILL STATION ROAD PAIGE ROAD DAUDLIN ROAD BROWNS TRACE,More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:20 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:20:50 GMT
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All the rain is running into larger streams and rivers that are moving rapidly toward flood stage.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 12:44 PM EDT2013-05-24 16:44:50 GMT
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Heavy rains have caused more flooding problems around our region, and the situation could get worse as the rain continues to fall over the holiday weekend.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 9:51 AM EDT2013-05-24 13:51:55 GMT
Over the river and throught the woods isn't just the way to grandma's house, its the way a lot of people are having to travel just to make it to their front door. Dormant brooks and sleepy streams turnedMore >>
Strong rains Thursday flooded roads in Essex.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:25 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:25:14 GMT
A rainy Vermont City Marathon forecast isn't slowing down runners or organizers. "Well, we're going to make some liquid sunshine out of all of this rain. That's the only choice we've got right now," saidMore >>
The countdown is on to this weekend's Vermont City Marathon and final preps are underway. Those finishing touches are coming in the rain, but organizers say the weather isn't slowing things down.More >>
Friday, May 24 2013 7:35 PM EDT2013-05-24 23:35:15 GMT
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex. The parade is held annually on the Saturday morning of the holiday weekend. But after all the rain and flooding damageMore >>
The bad weather has forced the postponement of the annual Memorial Day parade in Essex.More >>