Vermont to hire analyst for single-payer design

The state of Vermont is planning to hire an analyst to help design a single-payer healthcare system and officials are narrowing the options that could be used to raise about $2 billion in public financing for the program.

Potential bidders for the single-payer contract include consultants from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Rand Corp.

"There are three big things we're looking for," said administration official Michael Costa during a conference call with bidders earlier this month. "We're really looking for . how businesses and people pay for health care now, a behavioral response to proposed coverage and financing changes . and then once we see the impact of those changes, really being able to assess the economic impact of that behavioral response."

Bids were due Friday. It's hoped the firm can be working by July 1.

The administration of Gov. Peter Shumlin is working to develop a single-payer financing plan so it can be presented to lawmakers at the beginning of the 2015 legislative session.

Vermont Public Radio reports that whoever wins the contract will use complex modeling tools to conduct micro-simulations of various public financing possibilities. The simulations are designed to determine if moving to a single-payer system will be better or worse for Vermonters.

Lawrence Miller, who is overseeing healthcare reform for the Shumlin administration, said the overhaul of the more than $5 billion health care industry will have consequences.

"If we don't have a window into what those trade-offs are, it's impossible to provide the Legislature or the governor with the appropriate background information for making those judgments," Miller said.



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