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Legislators mark some milestones: education, budget, other bills wrap up

Posted on May 21, 2015 |
By John Flowers



MONTPELIER — Lawmakers expected to take on a lot of important issues when they arrived in Montpelier for the legislative session in January. Education finance reform, economic development, energy, water quality, child protection and health care reform were all on the docket.

Over it all hung a fiscal year 2016 budget that showed signs of a big deficit before the end of the month.

As the Legislature adjourned on Saturday, state senators, representatives and the governor all could count some accomplishment in the session.

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Lawmakers at odds over health care reform funding

Posted on April 16, 2015 |
By John Flowers



MIDDLEBURY — Local lawmakers and area health care providers will be closely monitoring the progress of a $20 million tax package designed to further Vermont’s health care reform effort.

Part of that $20 million in revenues — derived from taxes on sugar-sweetened and diet beverages, tobacco products and dietary supplements — would be used to increase Medicaid reimbursement rates to doctors and other service providers, some of whom are struggling to remain solvent.

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Ways of Seeing: Vt. health care could use a little prevention

Posted on April 16, 2015 |
By Joanna Colwell



Gov. Shumlin’s admission that Vermont would not be achieving single-payer health care in 2017 has disappointed a lot of people. I even received a sympathy card about it, from a good friend in Portland, Ore.! It is sad to imagine that folks all over the United States may have been looking to Vermont for a workable solution to the healthcare crisis, and now we are letting them down due to budgetary woes.

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Lawmakers: Health reform is on track, but new taxes loom

Posted on April 9, 2015 |
By John Flowers



SHOREHAM — “It’s been extraordinarily frustrating,” Rep. Diane Lanpher said of Vermont Health Connect’s track record to date. The Vergennes Democrat gave those remarks during a discussion with other local lawmakers of the state’s health care exchange at a Legislative Breakfast in Shoreham Monday morning.

“What started as really good policy at the federal level could not be rolled out in a way that … met where the policy was going,” Lanpher added.

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Guest Editorial: $200 million for Vt.'s health exchange? What's Plan B?

Posted on March 16, 2015 |
By Emerson Lynn



The cost of the Vermont Health Care exchange recently took another jump. It is now expected to cost $200 million, which is the equivalent of billing every man, woman and child in Vermont $320.

For something that has yet to work.

Vermont’s exchange serves roughly 30,000 people (a fraction of what was intended,) which means the per-person cost is $6,666.

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Opinion: Other countries' health care systems offer examples

Posted on February 9, 2015 |
By Rev. George Klohck



I write in support of the many Vermont citizens, elected officials, and public servants who continue the struggle to create a health care system that will serve all Vermonters fairly and well. Suffering from a serious illness is hard enough without bearing an expense that destroys the financial security of a person or a family. Can’t we Americans hear the reports of people in other nations that are doing better than we are?

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Ayer helps chart a new course for health care

Posted on January 29, 2015 |
By Claire Ayer



MONTPELIER — While Gov. Peter Shumlin has at least temporarily put the brakes on Vermont’s transition to a single-payer health insurance system, that will not prevent key legislative committees from studying and advancing measures aimed at reducing the cost of, and improving access to, health care services.

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Opinion: Corporate interests are winning the health care battle

Posted on January 7, 2015 |
By Millard Cox



I have some questions about Gov. Shumlin’s recent cessation of universal single-payer tax-supported health care for Vermont.

Was there a coalition of conservative Democratic and Republican legislators who threatened to vote for the Republican candidate for governor if Shumlin carried out his plan to implement Act 48?

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Opinion: The long fight for a single-payer system is not dead

Posted on January 7, 2015 |
By Ellen Oxfeld



Gov. Shumlin’s decision to suspend moving forward on the financing package for single payer in the coming legislative session does not mean that the dream of health care as a public good in Vermont is dead. At his press conference announcing his decision to not pursue single-payer financing in 2015, the governor stated that “now is not the right time.” But he also made clear that Vermonters must not abandon the goal of universal publicly financed health care stated in Act 48.

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Eric Davis: Health care decision no surprise

Posted on December 23, 2014 |
By Eric L. Davis



Gov. Shumlin announced last Wednesday that “it is not the right time” to introduce a single-payer health care system in Vermont. He said he would not propose such a plan to the Legislature in 2015.

A version of a financing plan for single-payer that was leaked to the press earlier this month received a strongly negative reaction, so the governor’s decision to abandon further action is not a surprise.

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