While the silence from most of US mainstream media remains deafening, the print and online news publication for physicians published by the American Medical Association – American Medical News – reported yesterday May 16 that Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has scheduled a bill-signing ceremony for May 26 during which he will sign a bill approved by the Vermont Democratic-controlled legislature, with the state Senate voting 21-9 to pass it on May 3, and the House adopting it on May 5 with a 94-49 vote “that paves the way for the state to launch a health system approaching a single-payer model later in the decade and to create a state health insurance exchange”.
The measure creates a powerful five-member Green Mountain Care Board, members of which will determine the benefits and craft a funding plan for Green Mountain Care, a state universal health plan. The board would have wide authority over state health spending and health system reform. The bill requires the governor to nominate Green Mountain board members by Oct. 1 and the Vermont Senate to confirm them.
All Vermonters would be eligible for the plan, which would cover hospital services and prescription drugs.
Shumlin had pledged to enact a single-payer health system during his January 6 inaugural address, saying “Let Vermont be the first state in the nation to treat health care as a right and not a privilege.“