Vermonters have always been a unique and independent lot. On May 5th the Vermont House passed a health care reform bill 94-49 which was already passed by the Senate establishing the Green Mountain health insurance exchange. Governor Pete Shumlin has publicly stated that he will sign it into law.
This bill directs the state to set up a health benefits exchange per the Affordable Care Act. Once this is done the state can set up the single payer system. Now this is no guarantee as it will take several years to go into effect. Vermont could see an entirely new government elected between now and 2017 who could try and derail the program.
There are several hurdles between that time such as cost controls and other things that private insurance companies must become used to. But this could become a benchmark for health care reform just as Massachusetts has done with Romneycare. Vermont’s system could become the the template for health care in the rest of the nation. Much depends upon the size of the risk pool. This will ultimately become an all-in proposition yet Vermont could demonstrate how it could work on a state level.
I’m hoping the new healthcare law works well in Vermont, so that many other states will follow in kind.