Vermont Governor Shumlin Delays Plans to Ask Legislature to Consider His Universal Single-Payer Health Care Plan at This Time

Dec. 17, 2014      

Vermont Governor Shumlin Delays Plans to Ask Legislature to Consider His Universal Single-Payer Health Care Plan at This Time

Statement of Vijay Das, Health Policy Advocate, Public Citizen’s Congress Watch Division 

Notes: Today, Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin announced that he will not ask the state Legislature to consider his single-payer health care financing proposal, a delay of his most public, long-standing political promise: guaranteeing health insurance to all Vermonters under a universal publically funded system. Governor Shumlin ran on this platform for many years, including this past year. The governor largely felt that Vermont was not ready for his plan’s impact on the state economy.

The governor should reconsider his plans to delay introducing a financing universal health care plan in his state. One of the reasons the governor currently sits in office is because of his bold leadership on universal health care and his grasp of its joint economic and moral benefits for the people of Vermont and the nation.

America spends more money on health care as a percentage of its GDP than any other country in the world – rich or poor – with subpar outcomes. Our current system is inefficient, overly-complex, unfair and unaffordable. Vermont is a part of a national movement to return sanity to health care.

A single-payer health care system in Vermont is estimated to save 25 percent of total health care costs statewide over the course of the first decade. The U.S. could save approximately $500 billion annually by eliminating the administrative waste and inefficiencies associated with our for-profit health insurance system.

The continuing health care crisis in America is both an economic and social justice issue. And it’s more urgent than ever for Governor Shumlin to either move forward with his proposal or phase-in an alternative financing plan that’s consistent with his original intention to bring universal health care to Vermont. The people in Vermont cannot wait. Public Citizen stands with the leaders, activists and organizations that understand the severity of the problems in Vermont in the context of the American health care crisis.

We look forward to continue working with the governor’s office, state lawmakers, and grassroots activists to ensure that Vermont is able to move forward with their universal health plan that was passed into law in 2011.

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