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Shumlin admin.: Too soon to talk about single-payer funding - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Shumlin administration: Too soon to talk about single-payer funding

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

Vt. Gov. Peter Shumlin's health care team is not ready to bite on a single-payer financing plan.

A Democratic senator is pressing the issue, saying a payroll tax is the only way to generate up to $2 billion to fund the new system. Lawmakers held a hearing on the proposal Friday, which would impose an 11-percent tax on employers and a 2-percent tax on employees.

Those working to transition Vermont to a single-payer system in 2017 say the plan is premature.

"This is a great first step. This is a conversation the governor clearly wants to have. It's a little ahead of where we are. Looking at the bill, specifically the principles are certainly consistent with Act 48 and any good financing plan will embody those principles," said Michael Costa, the deputy director of Health Care Reform in Vermont.

The governor plans to release his financing plan next January and officials say it will be fundamentally similar to the proposal before lawmakers.

Sen. Peter Galbraith who proposed the financing bill supports a single-payer system, but says the state cannot wait that long to begin the discussion in earnest.

Opponents of single-payer have accused the governor of purposely delaying discussion of the funding ideas until after the next election to avoid public backlash at the polls.

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