Vermont has become the first state to ensure that its citizens have a right to affordable health care coverage, as the governor today signed a single payer health care bill into law.
“This law recognizes an economic and fiscal imperative,” Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin said as he signed the bill into law at the State House.
“We must control the growth in health care costs that are putting families at economic risk and making it harder for small employers to do business.”
Vermont’s single payer plan was voted through late in April, and will make it the first state in the nation to go beyond even the progressive health care reforms proposed by the Obama administration and passed by Congress in 2010.
However, the state will still have to wait to have its new law implemented. The state still needs permission from the federal government to opt out of the national health care plan, and also needs to meet some key financial criteria to ensure its plan costs less than the national version.
The framework of the state plan could be instituted as early as 2014, and the single-payer component would go into effect three years later, in 2017.