State to hire analyst for single-player design

June 22, 2014

Rutland Herald

The Associated Press
MONTPELIER — The state plans to hire an analyst to help design a single-payer health care system, and officials are narrowing the options that could be used to raise about $2 billion in public financing for the program.

Potential bidders for the single-payer design include consultants for the Massachusetts Institute of Technology and the Rand Corporation.

“There are three big things we’re looking for,” said Michael Costa, deputy director of health care reform, during a conference call with bidders earlier this month. “We’re really looking for how businesses and people pay for health care now, a behavioral response to proposed coverage and financing changes . and then once we see the impact of those changes, really being able to assess the economic impact of that behavioral response.”

Bids were due Friday. The state hopes work can start by July 1.

The administration of Gov. Peter Shumlin is working to develop a single-payer financing plan so it can be presented to lawmakers at the beginning of the 2015 legislative session.

Vermont Public Radio reported that the winner of the contract will use complex modeling tools to conduct micro-simulations of various public financing possibilities.

The simulations are designed to determine if moving to a single-payer system will be better or worse for Vermonters.

Lawrence Miller, who is overseeing health care reform for the Shumlin administration, said the overhaul of the $5 billion health care industry will have consequences.

“If we don’t have a window into what those trade-offs are, it’s impossible to provide the Legislature or the governor with the appropriate background information for making those judgments,” Miller said.