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.
Sunday, May 19 2013 12:06 AM EDT2013-05-19 04:06:03 GMT
Vermont State Police have charged 22-year-old Adam Page of Newport for stealing the Newport City Elementary School bus, which has now been declared totaled. A stolen dog was also recovered in the busMore >>
State Police say he is also being charged with the theft of two other vehicles and a woman's dog.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 11:45 PM EDT2013-05-19 03:45:20 GMT
State police are looking for the person responsible for stealing a school bus and taking it for a joyride in northern Vermont. Troopers say the 2014-model bus belonging Newport City Elementary SchoolMore >>
Police say the school bus belonging to the Newport City Elementary School was taken for a joy ride Friday night.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 10:10 PM EDT2013-05-19 02:10:53 GMT
A fatal accident in Lyndon Saturday. It happened around 2:30 Saturday afternoon on Route 122. Police say 76-year-old Gerda Blaszczyk of St. Johnsbury swerved to avoid an animal. Her car travelled up anMore >>
Police say the driver swerved to avoid an animal.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 8:03 PM EDT2013-05-19 00:03:45 GMT
Senator Bernie Sanders is touring the state this weekend with a special guest. Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings in Burlington, Brattleboro and Montpelier. TheMore >>
Sanders and the Danish Ambassabdor to the United States are hosting town hall meetings.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:56 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:56:03 GMT
Saturday marked a new beginning for Castleton State College students. "Were all gathered here, getting fired up, having a good time," explained Castleton graduate, David Carrier. The 500 graduates hadMore >>
It's graduation day for the class of 20-13 at Castleton State College. And just for the occasion, the college invited back an alumnus with a strong connection to the school.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:51 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:51:14 GMT
Young bikers were learning the rules of the road in South Burlington Saturday. Kids who brought their bikes to the Dorset St. Park received free checks for their brakes, chains, and tires. Helmets alsoMore >>
and much more... making sure kids are safe before they hit the roads this summer.More >>
Saturday, May 18 2013 7:49 PM EDT2013-05-18 23:49:26 GMT
On a sun-soaked Saturday, Karen Trayah and her dogs enjoyed the sights, sounds, and of course smells of a festival for fidos. "It's called Woofstock, however, this is our 1st year doing it here at theMore >>
Making sure our furry friends have a place to call home.More >>
Friday, May 17 2013 7:54 PM EDT2013-05-17 23:54:10 GMT
The door to room 118 at the Liberty Inn and Suites is gone-- busted by police during an early morning drug raid. They say tenant Julie Herron, 41, was selling heroin out her room. She was living thereMore >>
A South Burlington drug bust exposed new abuses of the state's homeless voucher program. A couple was arrested for selling heroin out of their motel room, and police say the state was footing the bill for their stay.More >>