NYTimes on Mass plan, single-payer in Vermont

The lead tells the tale of Dr. Deb Richter whom moved  from New York to Vermont with a mission.

She wanted Vermont to become the first state to adopt a single-payer health care system, run and paid for by the government, with every resident eligible for a uniform benefit package….

Twelve years later, Dr. Richter will watch Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, sign a bill on Thursday that sets Vermont on a path toward a single-payer system — the nation’s first such experiment — thanks in no small part to her persistence. …

As in all states, the cost of health care has increased sharply in Vermont in recent years. It has doubled here over the last decade to roughly $5 billion a year, taking a particular toll on small businesses and the middle class. All 620,000 of the state’s residents would be eligible for coverage under the new system, which proponents say would be cheaper over all than the current patchwork of insurers. A five-member board appointed by the governor is to determine payment rates for doctors, what benefits to cover and other details.       

But much remains to be worked out — so much that even under the most optimistic projections the plan might not take effect until 2017. Most significantly, Mr. Shumlin still has to figure out how much it will cost and how to pay for it, possibly through a new payroll tax. Whether he will still be in charge by 2017 is among the complicating factors.     

Also  in the Times, this editorial on the Mass Plan:

From yesterday’s paper:

Despite all of the bashing by conservative commentators and politicians — and the predictions of doom for national health care reform — the program he signed into law as governor has been a success. The real lesson from Massachusetts is that health care reform can work, and the national law should work as well or even better

Here’s a sample of some of the comments:

Of course, it works. I got laid off three years ago. Unemployment covered 80% of my cobra payments. When my unemployment benefits ran out, I enrolled through the Commonwealth Connector Program. It is not cheap, $400 a month. However, it covers almost everything with only one grant deductible. If I were in a different state than MA, with all of my “preexisting conditions”, I would have paid around $1800 which would have meant no insurance for me. I am grateful to MA for providing an option that is cheaper than a monthly Cobra payment (which was $650 a month)!


Sure, you can get insured in Massachusetts. You have to. But what is the point of insurance if you’re assigned a PCP at a free clinic 15 miles from your house and you can’t get an appointment for three months for a physical? Good luck if there’s something actually wrong with you, because no one will take your “insurance.”


Single payer is the way to go, for me at least. Not so Obama with his Republican streak and his non-challenging manner.


It may or may not work,the problem is that I really don’t care.As a small business owner you are trying to put your hand in my pocket.Those are my profits that I worked for.I have no desire to pay for health insurance for my employees.Heck,I don’t even like having to pay the minimum wage.I have no shortage of applicants,despite the lack of insurance.We have no shortage of people in this world,what is the harm in just letting them go?Lock the E.R. Room doors and be done with them.


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