Why Vermont’s Single Party Payer Healthcare Plan Failed
Stanley Feld M.D., FACP,MACE
Vermont’s single party payer healthcare plan was doomed to fail from the onset for several reasons.
Vermont had a Republican governor for eight years. He decided to retire. Peter Shumlin (D.) won the Democratic nomination for governor after progressive activists demanded that each candidate for the Democratic Party nomination promise to enact single-payer health care if nominated.
Shumlin’s got the nod, won the election. He was anxious to pass the single party payer system.
Vermont’s consultants were Harvard’s William Hsiao and MIT’s Jonathan Gruber.
William Hsiao has spent most of his academic career helping governments install single-payer healthcare systems.
There is little evidence that the systems by developed in Taiwan and other countries by William Hsiao have been successful. They have not been cost effective or sustainable. They have not preserved freedom of choice.
Gruber and Hsiao made the same mistakes for Vermont that they made for America with Obamacare.
Hsiao and Gruber promised that single-payer health care in Vermont could save $1.6 billion over ten years. With that endorsement in hand, Shumlin and the legislature passed Act 48, a law instructing the state to figure out how to finance a single-payer system. They dubbed it Green Mountain Care.
Governor Shumlin said, “If Vermont gets single-payer health care right, which I believe we will, other states will follow,” pronounced Shumlin. “If we screw it up, it will set back this effort for a long time. So I know we have a tremendous amount of responsibility, not only to Vermonters.”
Unfortunately, Americans have a short memory, the short memory promoted by the conformational bias of the traditional mass media toward a progressive agenda.
Progressive Americans and their progressive politicians had better wake up fast. “Medicare for All” does not work.
Medicare does not work in a financially sustainable way for the government or seniors. It was not sustainable in the Bernie Sanders small state of Vermont. It is nice to believe you can provide healthcare benefits for nothing to all. However, nothing is free especially when it is run by central bureaucrats. It has been proven over and over again.
First, bureaucrats and healthcare policy consultants do not understand the medical care system. The history of Vermont’s single- payor story is interesting.
In December 2014 Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D.) announced that he was pulling the plug after four years on Vermont’s single-payer, government-run health care system.
“In my judgment,” Governor Shumlin said, “the potential economic disruption and risks would be too great to small businesses, working families, and the state’s economy.”
Rather than saving $1.6 billion the Green Mountain Care would cost an additional 2.6 billion dollars in tax revenue for 2017 alone. The law would require a 151 percent increase in state taxes.
“Fiscally, that’s a train wreck. Even a skeptical report from Avalere health had previously assumed that the plan would “only” cost $1.9 to $2.2 billion extra in 2017.”
“In 2019, Costa estimated that Green Mountain Care would have required $2.9 billion in tax revenue vs. $1.8 billion under pre-existing law: a 160 percent increase in revenue.”
The result should explain why the dream of single-payer health care in the U.S. should be dead for the foreseeable future.
Daily, we read articles calling for “Medicare for All” from progressive politicians running for office.
How stupid do they think Americans are?
The opinions expressed in the blog “Repairing The Healthcare System” are, mine and mine alone.
Please have a friend subscribe