Back in February President Obama told his critics to basically put up or shut up when it comes to the healthcare issues facing the country. Opponents of the flawed Healthcare reform bill that the president signed into law have been pushing to have it repealed. Two months ago the president told governors all the across the country “If your state can create a plan that covers as many people as affordably and comprehensively as the Affordable Care Act does, without increasing the deficit, you can implement that plan, and we’ll work with you to do it.”
It looks like Vermont will be the first state to take the president up on that challenge. The Vermont House has passed a bill that will give it’s residents access to a single-payer healthcare system by 2015. Gov. Peter Shumlin, who ran with single-payer health care being a major part of his campaign hailed the legislation saying it would make Vermont “the first state in the country to make the first substantive step to deliver a health care system where health care will be a right and not a privilege, where health care will follow the individual, not be a requirement of the employer, and where we’ll have an affordable system that contains costs.”
House minority Republicans criticized the bill which will set up a five-member board to draft a benefit package called Green Mountain Care, but doesn’t actually require the governor to figure out how to pay for it until 2013. The initial amount to be set aside for funding the system is $1.2 million. House Minority Leader Don Turner, R-Milton said “Creating a health care system based on theory and campaign promises is not good policy,”. Rep. Thomas Burditt, R-West Rutland, said that the government needs to reduce the role it plays in the healthcare system, not increase it.
The Vermont Senate is expected to also pass the bill but Sen. John Campbell, said members might look to make some changes.
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