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Vermont moves closer to single-payer health care system


MONTPELIER, Vt.—The Vermont House has approved legislation that would move the state closer to a single-payer health care system.

H.B. 202, which cleared the House Wednesday on a 92-49 vote, would establish a five-member board to develop a health care benefits package that would be available to all state residents through a new state insurance exchange.

Under the measure, “all Vermont residents shall be eligible for Green Mountain Care, a universal health care program that will provide health benefits through a single-payment system,” the legislation says.

However, the measure, which now goes to the state Senate, does not identify funding sources.

Vermont would need a federal waiver to implement the program if it is approved. Such waivers cannot, under the health care reform law, be provided until 2017. But legislation has been introduced in the U.S. Senate—and backed by President Barack Obama—to move up to 2014 the time such waivers could be given.

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