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Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin

Vermont governor signs single-payer bill

By Jaimy Lee
Posted: May 26, 2011 - 11:15 am ET

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, signed a bill (PDF) today that will pave the way for the creation of a statewide publicly funded single-payer system.

The new system, dubbed Green Mountain Care, will make the state's 620,000 residents eligible for coverage.

“This law recognizes an economic and fiscal imperative—that we must control the growth in healthcare costs that are putting families at economic risk and making it harder for small employers to do business,” Shumlin said in a written statement.

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The next step under the law is to establish the system's board, including naming a chairman and four members by October, according to the governor's news release. The panel is responsible for developing the state's healthcare payment and delivery system reforms, according to the bill.

Details about how Green Mountain Care will be funded have been limited—two financial plans are scheduled to be sent to state House and Senate committees in 2013. Another question concerns the state-run health insurance exchange that Vermont is expected to offer starting in 2014 as a result of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“I realize that people have legitimate questions about how a single payer will be financed and operated, and we will answer those questions before the Legislature takes the next step,” Shumlin said in a statement.

Vermont has reported that healthcare spending rose nearly 8% to $4.7 billion in 2009, compared with the 5.7% growth the U.S. reported the same year, according to state data.

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