Robeznieks: Are there any implementation milestones we should be watching for?
Shumlin: Sure. We have appointed—I'm going to be appointing shortly a five-member board to design this healthcare cost-containment system that I've just described. In 2013, we will present that to Vermonters. We're doing a cooperation with their business community, our healthcare providers, our consumers and everyone else who is working so hard in the healthcare system. Then in 2013, we'll come up with a publicly financed system that will pay for our new healthcare system. And we hope to have it in place in 2014. Now there's a couple of things that we need: The first is we need a way or a change in the current lot in the federal healthcare bill passed by President Obama that currently precludes single-payer systems from going into effect until 2014—until 2017. We need that date changed from 2017 to 2014. The president supports that. He told me and the other governors in January that he believes that the states must be and should be the laboratories for change in healthcare, the laboratories for true reform as long as we're not reducing federal standards, which we would not in Vermont. So that's the one thing that we need from Congress. The second piece is we're going to need all kinds of waivers from CMS to ensure that we use our Medicaid and Medicare dollars, put everybody in a single pool and let Vermont plug those federal dollars into our self-contained system. And that we can do with the great cooperation of the secretary and so many other people in the Obama administration who have been cooperating with us extremely well.
Robeznieks: OK. Well, thank you very much, governor, for speaking with us today
Shumlin: Well, thanks so much for having me, and let me just say in closing there are those who believe that this plan is too ambitious, that it is trying to chew off too much, and what I keep saying to people here in Vermont who were skeptics of what we're trying to do: Listen, in a small rural state, this isn't just about dollars; it's about preserving our existing healthcare system. We're losing our rural healthcare providers, and we're a rural state, our primary-care providers because they're not getting paid enough to survive here. When you get 40 cents on a dollar for a dollar's work, you can't pay your bills. So this isn't just about spending less on healthcare for better outcomes, it's also about ensuring that we maintain a quality healthcare delivery system that we're going to lose if we don't reform the system of both how we deliver care and how we pay for it. So big stakes. And I keep saying to those who are skeptical: ‘What if we do nothing? What if we join the other 49 states and Congress in pretending that we don't have a problem here? Where do you think the money's going to come from in America to allow us to compete and to come up with the money to pay for the current system?' I keep saying we can't compete for jobs. We can't compete for economic prosperity in a global economy unless this country starts to spend less on healthcare for better outcomes. It's going to kill business. It's going to kill job creation. And it's going to destroy our economic future.
Robeznieks: Well, thank you again.
Shumlin: Hey, good talking to you.
Andis Robeznieks: I was wondering if maybe we should have had something a little uplifting at the end, but—
Shumlin: Well, I'll give you something uplifting. You ready? If Vermont can get this right, I'm convinced that other states will follow us, and we have a bright economic future. That we'll put an end to the era where we watched our healthcare spending rise at rates that couldn't be sustained and where we ensured that our most vulnerable citizens didn't have quality access to healthcare to keep them healthy. So, we think we're on the right track in Vermont. If we can get this right, we're confident that others will join us and leave a bright future.
Robeznieks: Well, thank you again, governor.
Shumlin: All right. Go get 'em.
Robeznieks: This has been Andis Robeznieks with Modern Healthcare,/i>, and I've been speaking with Gov. Peter Shumlin of Vermont, who Modern Healthcare readers voted as one of the top influential people in healthcare.