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Vermont closer to single-payer health care system

Posted On: Apr. 27, 2011 12:00 AM CST

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

H.B. 202, which cleared the Senate Tuesday on a 21-9 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.

According to the bill, “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.”

However, the measure, which now goes to a conference committee to work out differences between it and a similar bill that the Vermont House passed last month, does not identify funding sources.

Vermont would need a federal waiver to implement the program if it receives final approval. Such waivers, cannot, under the federal health care reform law, be provided until 2017.

However, 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.