Saturday, December 10, 2016

Universal Healthcare

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Vermont Waiting Room

Saying tax rates would be too great (on Vermonters) at this time, Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin has scrapped plans to make Vermont the first state in the nation to provide universal health insurance to all residents.

Quoting from Gov. Shumlin’s press release on the subject, the governor said:

As far as funding “universal, publicly-financed health care system in Vermont” . . . “the financial models…would require both a double digit payroll tax on Vermont businesses and an up to 9.5% public premium assessment on individual Vermonters’ income to pay”… for the statewide public health care system” also known as Green Mountain Care.

“Therefore, (Gov. Shumlin) said, despite his steadfast support for a publicly-financed health care system, he reluctantly will not support moving forward with a financing proposal at this time . . .”

“Pushing for single payer health care when the time isn’t right”… might hurt our economy (and) would not be good for Vermont”… (and) “could set back for years all of our hard work toward the important goal of universal, publicly-financed health care for all.”

“Although the Administration explored several different benefits and financing proposals, the preferred proposal outlined by the Governor’s Deputy Director of Health Care Reform Michael Costa today would cover all Vermonters” . . .”at 94% of total health care costs and leave the individual to pay on average the other 6% out of pocket.”

“Costa explained that paying for that benefit plan would require:

• An 11.5% payroll tax on all Vermont businesses

• A sliding scale income-based public premium on individuals of 0% to 9.5%. The public premium would top out at 9.5% for those making 400% of the federal poverty level ($102,000 for a family of four in 2017) and would be capped so no Vermonter would pay more than $27,500 per year.”

“These are simply not tax rates that I can responsibly support or urge the Legislature to pass,” the Governor said.”

This is a curious outcome in a state represented in Congress by two of the most liberal members in the U.S. Senate – senior Senator Patrick Leahy, who was an early supporter of ObamaCare and Senator Bernie Sanders – a self-described socialist who caucuses with the Democrats and acts as a virtual rubber stamp on President Barack Obama’s liberal agenda.

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