The state you’re not hearing about

Every time a state rejects a million (not billion) dollar grant from the PPACA, it seems to make national news. Every time a state decides not to start up an exchange, it’s seen as a slap in the face to reform. Every time a governor demands more flexibility to move towards less coverage or fewer benefits, it’s all over the Internet.

I’m not hearing nearly as much about Vermont.

You remember Vermont, right? Smallish state in the Northeast? First state to join the union after the original thirteen colonies? Produces a lot of maple syrup?

And now a hair’s breath away from establishing a single payer health care system. Here’s a link to a local article on the Senate approving the bill 21-9. I can’t find any juicy parts to quote, because other than the title, the words “single-payer” don’t even appear in its text. Nowhere in the piece is there even a description of what a single-payer system is, or how this might be different than any other health care system. It’s bizarre.

The last time I heard anything about this bill was when the Vermont House passed it 92-49. The text of that article does contain the term “single-payer” once. It also contains “socialism” once.

All that’s left for this bill to become Vermont law is for the governor to sign it. He will. He won his primary by trying to be the more fervent supporter of a single-payer health care system.

As we’ve discussed before, Vermont will need to get a waiver from the federal government to run this, but there’s no reason to believe they wouldn’t under the current administration. True, a more conservative future administration might try to block the law, but that will be hard to justify under a “state’s right”s mantra. And there are still issues about how to pay for the system.

But this movement is closer to actual law than anything else I’m seeing, and there’s barely any talk about it at all. I find that odd.


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