Vermont universal care seen as costing less than existing system

November 11, 2011

A universal health care program in Vermont would cost between $8.2 billion and $9.5 billion a year by 2020. But the state's existing health system would cost $10 billion by 2020, according to an estimate released Nov. 1 by the Vermont Legislative Joint Fiscal Office and the Vermont Dept. of Banking, Insurance, Securities and Health Care Administration. Vermont's health care spending was $4.7 billion in 2009.

The report is part of the process of creating a universal health care program in Vermont that would approach a single-payer system. In May, Vermont enacted legislation to create a new health care board to study and possibly implement such a program, which could be operational as soon as 2017.

Most of the projected savings from the universal care program would come from reforms in payment, benefit design and care delivery, plus improvements in public health and administrative simplification. However, the authors acknowledge that their long-term forecast could have a substantial margin of error.

The report is available online (