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Vermont Approves Single-Payer Health Care: "Everybody In, Nobody Out"

Health & Wellness  (tags: americans, babies, cancer, children, disease, drugs, ethics, family, government, healthcare, medicine, prevention, protection, research, safety, treatment )

- 1915 days ago -
The biggest downside of the ACA is the reliance on the private insurance industry. It does not have to be this way, however.


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Kit B (276)
Thursday December 19, 2013, 8:21 am
Photo Credit: Ted Swedenburg / Flickr

The Affordable Care Act continues to plow ahead, despite Republican attempts to fight it at every turn. What is unfolding in front of us is nothing short of spectacular. The problems with are slowly being resolved which is helping more and more people sign up for affordable healthcare, many for the first time in their life. The law provides so much more than that, including standards for even the lowest level plans, protections for young adults 26 and younger, and the elimination of pre-existing plans. Of course, you will not hear the success stories on the news, because those stories are not nearly as sexy as the “Obama Lied” slogan they are so fond of.

The biggest downside of the ACA is the reliance on the private insurance industry. It does not have to be this way, however. There is yet another provision in the Affordable Care Act that can open the door for states to institute their own single-payer healthcare system. Other states have a public option, especially for those below a certain income level, but no state had instituted a true single-payer system. All of this has changed thanks to President Obama and the Affordable Care Act.

Vermont—Home of Ben and Jerry’s, Maple Syrup, Bernie Sanders and the first state to pass marriage equality. Now, Vermont will be known for something that will impact every resident in the state.

The ACA provided states with federal funds to institute a Medicaid expansion. The states chose to expand the program also were able to set up their own state exchanges, which were relatively free from the problems the federal site had. Vermont decided to take it a step further by setting up their very own single payer system.

The slogan of the program: Everybody in, nobody out.

The program will be fully operational by 2017, and will be funded through Medicare, Medicaid, federal money for the ACA given to Vermont, and a slight increase in taxes. In exchange, there will be no more premiums, deductibles, copay’s, hospital bills or anything else aimed at making insurance companies a profit. Further, all hospitals and healthcare providers will now be nonprofit.

This system will provide an instant boost the state economy. On the one side, you have workers that no longer have to worry about paying medical costs or a monthly premium and are able to use that money for other things. On the other side, you have the burden of paying insurance taken off of the employers side, who will be able to use the saved money to provide a better wage and/or reinvest in their company through updated infrastructure and added jobs. It is a win-win solution.

To make sure that it is done right the first time, Vermont brought in a specialist who knows a thing or two about setting up a single-payer system.

Dr. William Hsaio, the Harvard health care economist who helped craft health systems in seven countries, was Vermont’s adviser. He estimates that Vermont will save 25 percent per capita over the current system in administrative costs and other savings.

Many like to say that the United States has the best healthcare system in the world. The problem is we don’t. Not even close. In fact, the only way you can get the best healthcare in the world, is if you are willing and able to pay for it. The United States can and must do better for its people.

Costs have to be held down — there is no reason why the U.S. has to pay twice the amount per capita as the next most costly system in the world (Norway’s), and still not cover millions of its citizens. A Harvard Medical School study states that 45,000 Americans die each year from treatable diseases because they cannot afford to get treatment.

45,000 Americans die every single year because they cannot afford treatment, are you ready for that? That is 15 times the amount of people that died during the September 11, 2001, attacks, or perhaps for you Righty’s out there you would rather see it put this way, 11,250 times the amount of people that died in the Benghazi attack. That equals 5 Americans that die every hour, of every day, of every year because of a preventable illness that was not taken care of due to lack of access and means.

Even once the Affordable Care Act wrinkles are ironed out, which they will be, and every America is covered, which will happen, that will not change the fact that all of this is being driven by a for-profit system by companies that only care about their bottom line. Despite rules in the ACA which prevent insurance companies from absolutely gouging their customers, insurance companies are not exactly know for their ethical behavior.

A single-payer system would all but eliminate anybody dying unnecessarily due to lack of access to healthcare. Our Declaration of Independence states, “We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable Rights, that among these are Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness.” How can somebody have life and happiness, without their health? Despite the glaring hypocrisy of rich, white males who owned slaves stating all men are created equal, we have come a long way from 1776. Yet when it comes to the very basic need, we are left to the whim of a business. Single-payer is inevitable, and the ACA is a giant step in that direction. We need must hold our officials to a higher standard which will get us there faster. 40,000 people a year is absolutely unacceptable. Vermont saw the writings on the wall. Will the rest of us?


Bernie Sanders on MSNBC discussing his state’s new single-payer system

Video available in body of article ***

By: Salvatore Aversa | Truth Out |

Salvatore Aversa attended Edinboro University of Pennsylvania. He graduated with a Bachelors of Arts in History in 2009. He currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA with his wife Nicole and their chocolate labrador, Godiva.

Past Member (0)
Thursday December 19, 2013, 8:54 am
I have read that Sen. Bernie Sanders is introducing a bill in Congress to try and make single-payer healthcare a law across the country. I've also read rumors that he is considering a run for the Presidency in 2016. I hope it's true!

Fiona Ogilvie (562)
Thursday December 19, 2013, 1:40 pm
There are some bugs to work out. It will take at least until 2017 or longer due to the federal government withholding a waiver to allow Vermont to completely remove itself from all forms of federal health care assistance.

In the meantime, I am a Vermonter who is returning temporarily to Arizona because an arid climate is better for my health.

Bernie is exactly where he wants to be and teaming up with Elizabeth Warren to press the issues they want pressed. He is not considering the Presidency.

Let's pick a state that has never had a native son as the President. Vermont has! Texas has! Hawaii has! Virginia had 17! It should not be that hard to find one state out of 50, which has never had a native son elected President.

Terrie Williams (798)
Thursday December 19, 2013, 1:56 pm
Well, good on Vermont! Wish I lived there because, as I came to find, the ACA will not be helping me and neither will Medicaid. I am now one of those who is falling through the cracks....yet again. SIGH. Meanwhile, I continue to deteriorate and try to stay a positive person (HA!) To anyone who can make the ACA work for them....more power to yas, I hope it works well for you. To those in Vermont, I envy you greatly.

As for moi....I have ReplubliCare.....sick, to bad, die quickly. Ain't AmuriKKKA great! :)

Lois Jordan (63)
Thursday December 19, 2013, 1:59 pm
Noted. Thanks, Kit. It seems the first battle that must be fought and won is those states who are choosing to opt-out of Medicare. I believe there are only 17 states that opted-in....I can't believe I live in one of those states. But, the formidable Gov. Brewer told our legislature not to put any bills on her desk until they passed that one. She stuck to her guns (so to speak) and got it done. If she can do it, the challenge should be out to the rest of those unwilling, cold-hearted, "cut their nose off to spite their face" states.

Barbara K (61)
Thursday December 19, 2013, 2:26 pm
Great deal for Vermont. Hope it spreads.

divergent r (309)
Thursday December 19, 2013, 2:29 pm

Fiona Ogilvie (562)
Thursday December 19, 2013, 2:49 pm
Oh I am proud of Vermont. Altogether I have lived in Vermont for 24 years. 10 inches of snow Tuesday and then the mercury falling to 12 below zero Wednesday, made me decide to at least spend the Winters in Arizona.

The talk around the wood stove in the country store goes like this: "Once the rest of the states and the rest of the citizens see how much money this move to single payer will save the state Vermont and will save the people who live in Vermont as individuals, it will not take long for the rest of the country to go single payer".

This particular conversation was around a wood stove in Drewsville, New Hampshire, where they were all planning to move to the west side of the Connecticut River in 2017;

JL A (281)
Thursday December 19, 2013, 5:17 pm
If one also counts Massachusettes, that becomes 4% of states opting for universal--I'm watching CA because they were ready if the money worked out OK last administration (was bipartisan) and just now there is a budget surplus that could do it--and that would make it over 20% of the nation's population then...

. (0)
Friday December 20, 2013, 7:03 am
Good for them! Thanks for sharing, Kit.

. (0)
Friday December 20, 2013, 10:27 am

Past Member (0)
Friday December 20, 2013, 12:56 pm
Vermont, America's avant guard for social issues.

Birgit W (160)
Friday December 20, 2013, 1:30 pm
Good, thanks.

DaleLovesOttawa O (198)
Friday December 20, 2013, 7:52 pm
Delightful. I am very grateful for universal health care in Canada.

Angelika R (143)
Friday December 20, 2013, 11:11 pm
kind of a bit early, but still-CONGRATS Vermont and an early "welcome to Europe"- good job! I do wonder how many administrations it may take for them all to get smart on healthcare-and I also wonder when will we learn about WHO has signed uop for ACA by now? How many YOUNG people that are mostly needed for it to work at all?

Keith H (0)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 12:37 am
Look and learn the rest of America

Patricia N (9)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 1:59 am
Single payer is the only way to go. Vermont must have some smart people in the state government.

Patricia H. (440)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 3:33 am
good news for Vermont

Jonathan Harper (0)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 6:54 am

Past Member (0)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 8:38 am
Why don't they just look at the Dutch system, seems fairly comprehensive to me and was just update in 2006 so it has just been reviewed for improvements. I would be careful to say the single payer systems are great. Look at the recent polls from any of the countries and you will find that while they use to have largely satisfied

You should really read the history of the UK NHS you would be surprised, and what I see as remarkable is the recent rise in broad acceptance of the mixed economy in health and social care now in Britain.

The problem is that you have to understand that when the government finances something, it ends up managing it. And it's like the old Soviet system: Everything is free, but nothing is readily available. It's very amusing when you're talking about toilet paper in Moscow in 1975; it's far less amusing when you're talking about cancer treatment in Toronto, London, New York, Amsterdam, Rome in the year 2013.

Problems with the single-payer system, include the politicization of health care, the vast amounts of producer capture, resource mis allocation, irrational rationing, vast amounts of regulation, services not really reliant upon reputation, but only on position, on uniformity rules and poor consumer focus. But in an age dominated by the psychology of consumerism, as in so many other areas of daily life, the British people are learning to empower themselves in the market. This is particularly true of younger people in their 20s and 30s who are no longer prepared to wait for a year for surgery. Certainly, they don't believe the NHS will be there for them in 10 years time. In the U.K., therefore, the health care system is evolving away from its "Sovietized" past.

Kit B (276)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 9:22 am

I don't necessarily disagree with each point, John, but the system we have allows for only those who can afford health care to have health care. Is it really a stretch to say that the constitution allows the we have a right to life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness, none can be achieved if I can not obtain health care for myself or my family. If I must declared bankruptcy because I did gamble the house on health care, what then is gained?

Sheila D (194)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 9:22 am
I wish VT luck, though only time will tell.

Daniel H (1)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 9:33 am
I am happy for the people of Vermont, but I only wish that the rest of the country could institute single payer healthcare. The "system" that we have now in the United States is an utter travesty.

Past Member (0)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 11:26 am
And I'm not saying that something should not be done, Kit. I have been covered by insurance in the USA, in Australia, In The Netherlands, in the UK, and in Australia. I know what I paid for coverage and it was not cheap. As for me: "Interferon beta is available in the UK, but some health authorities have controversially refused to fund it on the grounds that it is too expensive, or its worth has not been proven." I spent 10,200 ($16,000) per yearto buy it myself.

. (0)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 11:46 am
I was uneasy reading this . The article opened strong on the ACA, then later mentioned the wrinkled that had to be ironed out...2017 is a long way away....

Marianne R (94)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 1:46 pm
I'm keeping my fingers crossed that this will work and that Vermont will be a model for all our other States.
Way to go, Vermont!

Roger G (148)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 1:52 pm
noted, thanks

marie C (163)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 5:33 pm
Thanks Kit

Lona G (66)
Saturday December 21, 2013, 8:57 pm
Yes, way to go Vermont. I wouldn't mind the Dutch returning to their former health system or adopting a single payer system like Vermont. Unlike John S. I think the current system isn't comprehensive at all, getting more expensive and complicated each year and coverage is becoming more restricted each year too and yet we still have the moest expensive system after America. The only ones really happy with it are the specialists and the insurance companies who have taken over from the government and are running the show and making a lot of money. And next year the whole solidarity idea of everyone (at least) having to insure himself with one basic coverage package is out the window too, making things again more expensive for the elderly and the chronically ill.
So yes, you can give me single payer any day.

Past Member (0)
Sunday December 22, 2013, 5:49 am
noted, thanks

Jonathan Harper (0)
Sunday December 22, 2013, 7:52 am

Ruth Ann W (198)
Sunday December 22, 2013, 10:05 am
Good thing. Too bad few, if any, will follow suit..

Mary Donnelly (47)
Sunday December 22, 2013, 1:08 pm
Thanks Kit--interesting comments.

Barbara V (51)
Sunday December 22, 2013, 2:26 pm
Hey, other 49, didja hear that????

Kit B (276)
Sunday December 22, 2013, 3:03 pm

We have had a problem with health care for a very long time. I am not convinced that the ACA is the answer, but it is at least a move in the right direction. I have already seen some nasty abuses by insurance companies and have no doubt there will be more. Though we will have to let it ride for a while. Senator Bernie Sanders does have bill in the Senate very similar to HR 676, if that by some freaky chance passed the Senate, it would then have to be presented to the House, fat chance of that.

Fiona Ogilvie (562)
Sunday December 22, 2013, 4:24 pm
Vermont, the 14th state, never wanted to be in the United States. Vermont was coerced into the Union by George Washington and a large army. Now, 22% of Vermont registered voters do not want to be in the United States. Every May, at the statehouse in Montpelier, both houses of the state legislature do a roll call on secession. The secession movement is growing. After 9/11 when the Patriot law was passed, only 6% of Vermont registered voters wanted secession ..... now 22% wants out.

I do a very lucrative winter business since the skiers want to buy the winter hats, scarves and gloves I sell. These items all read "USA out of Vermont."

Charlene Rush (79)
Sunday December 22, 2013, 6:05 pm
Sometimes, our brains win out, to irrational thinking.

In terms of secession, they have no idea what the consequences could be. The minute they are threatened by outside forces, to whom do you think they will turn?
This also, applies to Texas. Do they think they could fight a Mexican army all by themselves?
This is absolute nonsense.

I've heard racists say that they hate Obamacare, when in fact, they hate a 1/2 white, 1/2 black president. They have some absurd idea that we would be better off with a Plutocracy-government by the wealthy-which is exactly what the Tea Party Republicans want, as we speak.
Does anyone with any amount of intelligence, realize where we would all be with the Koch Brothers at the helm?
Do you conservatives labor under the delusion that they will let you into their club?

We absolutely cannot continue to be the ONLY industrialized nation in the world, who doesn't care what happens to our children and our seniors.
Christians ~ That's a joke, when it comes to the extreme right, as Pope Francis has so eloquently spoken out against.

Charlene Rush (79)
Sunday December 22, 2013, 6:17 pm
Why don't we get something straight!

This whole issue is not about healthcare, since the Republican Heritage Foundation initiated this plan from the beginning. Since, President Obama jumped on the bandwagon, conservatives decided to hate it. It was and is a conscious effort to discredit him and his agenda. If you truly believed in healthcare for all, you would come up with added provisions to increase its success.

It's really quite simple. We liberals/independents have to stop listening to what they say, and respond to what they do.

Coincidentally, my hair dresser told me today, that he hates Obamacare. Of course, I asked him why, and he proceeded to tell me how much more it was going to cost him, both annually and per visit. He then went on to give me these elaborate figures. So, of course, I asked him with whom he had spoken.
Guess what, he hadn't yet spoken to anyone. He just heard a recording on his phone and assumed the rest.
Doesn't this sound typically familiar to stories we have heard on Fox News?

Winn Adams (179)
Monday December 23, 2013, 6:48 am
Good for VT.

M B (62)
Monday December 23, 2013, 12:39 pm
everybody should be entitled to health care.

Birgit W (160)
Monday December 23, 2013, 1:12 pm
Thanks Kit.

Ann Breeden (65)
Monday December 23, 2013, 2:51 pm
Glad to know that one state is moving forward with Single Payer. It should be the same for every state in the Union. It seems Vermont has a forward thinking Senator.

reft h (66)
Monday December 23, 2013, 11:51 pm

Karen Kersten Chestney (112)
Monday December 23, 2013, 11:52 pm
Kudos to Vt......single-payer....WOW.!....and because The ACA Opened the door....Hopefully this will happen in many more States. The ACA is the best thing to happen in a long long time....since...Medicare / Medicaid.It will be successful, people will realize having Health Care IS good...then more & more will start to understand single-payer is the way to go.

Nimue Michelle Pendragon Gaze (339)
Friday December 27, 2013, 4:40 am
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