Advocate says ACA could pave the way for state single payer plan

January 15, 2015

Vermont Digger: The single payer advocacy group Vermont Leads says the state could still implement a publicly financed universal health care program in the next three to four years.

New elements of the Affordable Care Act will continue to change the health insurance market in ways that will increase the public’s appetite for a sweeping new program, according to Peter Sterling, the group’s executive director.

Gov. Peter Shumlin’s recent single payer report highlights two “structural problems” that make a publicly financed program untenable, but those problems can be addressed by 2017, Sterling said.

First, the growth in health care costs continues to outstrip growth in the economy, making it difficult to finance with tax revenue. The regulatory work of the Green Mountain Care Board has shown promise in reversing that trend, he said, and could go a long way to making single payer more palatable.

Second, enough Vermont residents have health insurance that insulates them from the high costs of care, creating a sizable constituency opposed to, or “highly suspicious” of, a public coverage program, according to Sterling.

“A majority of Vermonters have no idea how much, or how unfair, the current system of financing health care is, nor do they understand yet how the world of the ACA will change that to their disadvantage in the near future,” he said...Click Here to read the full article.