The Corner

Vermont’s Single-Payer System Falling Short Already

Green Mountain Care hasn’t even taken off yet, but Vermont’s single-payer health-care system is already doomed to failure, according to one Democratic Vermont lawmaker.

Even though the program is still at least three years out from its launch, Representative Jim Condon warns that Green Mountain Care won’t be ready by 2017 and will cost a lot more than the originally projected $1.6 billion to $2.2 billion per year.

“It’s a government program, [so] I think it’s going to cost more than that,” he told Vermont Watchdog.

Though the law stipulates that the program cannot have a “negative aggregate impact” on Vermont’s economy, it seems inevitable that Green Mountain Care will ultimately lead to higher taxes; one report found the program would force Vermont to raise revenues by the same amount it currently collects today. Supporters of the program have already started introducing tax increases to help fund it.

“Given that, I think it would be in the best interest of Vermonters to redirect our energies away from single-payer health care to trying to improve the system we’re in now,” Condon said. “There are people working on it [who] could be doing other things,” he continued, adding that the scramble to get the program ready is a ”waste of resources at this point.”

The program will require a waiver from the Affordable Care Act in order to be implemented, which Condon said the state should no longer pursue.

While operating under the ACA, Vermont experienced problems with its state-run health-care exchange when it first launched in November of last year, despite spending nearly $200 million to build it. The website’s launch had to be delayed by more than a month after the intended October rollout due to “significant risks” to the program.


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