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, March 9 2014 10:10 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:10:32 GMT
Two New Hampshire communities damaged by storms are getting federal help. Lincoln will get more than $4.5 million for a bridge repair from Tropical Storm Irene. FEMA also awarded Lebanon more than $3More >>
Two New Hampshire communities damaged by storms are getting federal help.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:09 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:09:58 GMT
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County. CCTA officials told us in a statement that after 19 hours of negotiations that went into the morningMore >>
This morning, Channel 3 has learned there will NOT be a bus strike Monday morning in Chittenden County.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:09 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:09:06 GMT
A Ken Burns documentary featuring Vermont students will have its premiere in Brattleboro. The film is called "The Address". It follows the 50 boys at the Greenwood School in Putney who have learningMore >>
A Ken Burns documentary featuring Vermont students will have its premiere in Brattleboro.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 10:03 AM EDT2014-03-09 14:03:58 GMT
New Hampshire police say a man is recovering after he accidentally shot himself. Claremont police tell us that the man was cleaning his gun Saturday night when it went off. He was taken to the hospitalMore >>
New Hampshire police say a man is recovering after he accidentally shot himself.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:59 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:59:53 GMT
This towering ice fortress is dazzling visitors to Loon Mountain in New Hampshire. "Yeah, this is a wow moment," says visitor Millie Gabriel. "It's an incredible feeling to see people really light upMore >>
If you're ready to see one more beautiful thing before we say hello to spring, then we've found the spot for you.More >>
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:53 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:53:41 GMT
When the Wild Center in Tupper Lake was looking at maple education programs, they hit a bit of a snag. "I took a survey of the 31 acres here at the museum and we only had one maple tree on the property,"More >>
The Community Maple program has been going for three years now, allowing people to take the sap from their backyard and learn how to turn it into syrup.
Sunday, March 9 2014 9:44 AM EDT2014-03-09 13:44:12 GMT
We've got some tasty ideas for this second Sunday in March! PANCAKE BREAKFAST This year is the 20th annual Franklin Fire Dept. Pancake breakfast at the Franklin Central School. They serve more than 2,000More >>
We've got some tasty ideas for this second Sunday in March!More >>
Saturday, March 8 2014 9:49 PM EST2014-03-09 02:49:49 GMT
The Burlington Yoga Conference began Saturday at UVM's Davis Center. The event gives participants a chance to connect the mind body and soul through workshops they may not have access to on a daily basis.More >>
The Burlington Yoga Conference began 6 years ago and has become a staple in the community.More >>