Single payer

Vermont Kills Single-Payer Health Care Plan After Tax Hikes Prove Too Hefty

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Governor.Vermont.Gov

Vermont is saying a sad goodbye to its hopes of enacting America's first single-payer health care system.

The reason the state says it won't pursue the plan is that it's just too expensive. Even Democratic Gov. Pete Shumlin, who hoped the system would be a highlight of his political career, agrees that the tax hikes necessary to fund the system would have been prohibitive. 

The plan, which would have worked under an Obamacare waiver, has been in the works for years, but for much of that time backers of the plan struggled to identify a financing mechanism. And as soon as they did, it became clear that it wasn't going to work. The financing plan, announced only recently, would have required an additional 11.5 percent business payroll tax as well as a 9.5 percent income tax on top of the state's existing income tax. As the Burlington Free Press notes, Shumlin was concerned that small business would be hit with both, calling the financing plan "detrimental to Vermonters" as soon as it was released. 

It wouldn't even have been true single payer, as Politico points out. Large self-insured companies would have been left out of the mix, and Medicare would have continued on. Large companies would not only have been paying for their own workers' health plans, outside the system, they also would have been paying new taxes designed to support the state's single-payer system. 

Vermont isn't the first state to attempt a state-based single-payer system. California looked at it in the 1990s, and it too proved to be too expensive to be workable.

In stumping for Vermont's single-payer plan, Gov. Shumlin and other supporters repeatedly argued that it was intended as a cost control mechanism. The failure of the plan is yet another reminder that these sorts of single-payer systems require tax hikes that even liberal governors in liberal states can't support. 

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  1. Couldn’t possibly have foreseen this. Wow. What a shocker. Hoo boy. Wowsers.

    1. Vermont progs are shocked, shocked, to discover that someone actually has to pay for ‘free’ shit.

      1. Yeah, they should’ve done a better job disguising/concealing the true cost. They should have taken a few cues from the ACA/Obamacare people.

      2. Progs get VERY angry when you point out that free stuff isn’t free. “Well, the headline said “free college tuition”, but of course it is understood that it means “free to the student”, so stop all this tiresome pointing out that someone else pays for it and that it isn’t technically free.”

  2. Vermont is already a tough place to get a well-paying job (personal experience talking), and Shumlin wanted to do this???

    11.5 percent business payroll tax as well as a 9.5 percent income tax on top of the state’s existing income tax

    Holy fuck.

    Anyway, now that they’ve abandoned this, my moving to VT may be back on the table.

    1. In his defense, at least he realized that doing so would effectively kill his state, and pulled his head out of his ass long enough to say “stop”.

      1. He’s just another political coward that’s betrayed the cause.

        1. To many Salon commenters. That is the literal truth.

    2. Anyway, now that they’ve abandoned this, my moving to VT may be back on the table.

      The bonus for VT is they allow open/concealed carry without any license.

      1. I’m very familiar with VT’s (lack of) gun laws. As of last week, that was the only thing I was clinging to as far as moving there (I am a semi-native Vermonter, in that I wasn’t born there, but grew up there). New Hampshire had moved to the top of the list, despite the fact that I don’t have any social connections there.

        Now I need to go on FB to see what my Vermont proggie friends think of this whole thing. They’re all solidly middle class, so they probably don’t have a clue that the greatest burden for this clusterfuck of a program would have been placed on their shoulders.

        1. Yes, come to New Hampshire. Help counteract the Massholes ruining the place.

    3. Vermont is already a tough place to get a well-paying job (personal experience talking), and Shumlin wanted to do this???

      Why do you think I live in Boston?

      Just the threat of that tax rate killed the alt-text industry!

  3. It’s only too expensive because it’s not being done to a large enough group. It’d totally be cheaper to do at the national level.

    1. True. The ratio of makers to takers is higher on the national level than in Vermont, so a few Top Men could still figure it out.

      1. It didn’t work because we didn’t go FAR ENOUGH!!!
        FAILURE OF GOVERNMENT ALWAYS JUSTIFIES MORE GOVERNMENT!!!!

        1. They just needed to make the State Income Tax a little more progressive! /derp

    2. Simple – the corollary to “too big to fail” is “too small to succeed”.

  4. Why won’t the rich pay their fair share?

    1. “backers of the plan struggled to identify a financing mechanism”

      Get it from the kulaks, hoarders and wreckers, duh!

      /prog

  5. I wonder how many exceptions to the 11.5% payroll tax increase would have been granted? I already know, from having had an interview at DR a couple years ago, that VT likes to prop up its larger businesses with tax breaks and other incentives (I asked this specific question in my interview). My guess is that companies like DR, Vermont Teddy Bear, the ski resorts, Cabot, IBM, et al would have been granted cronyist exceptions and the burden would have been placed on a decreasing number of small businesses without the political clout to get their own exceptions.

    1. I wonder if Green Mountain Coffee (Keurig) gets a lot of tax breaks, and if it bothers the Vermont hippies that they are polluting the world with so much plastic trash.

      1. I bet they get incentives to stay in-state.

        What I wonder is if B&J gets incentives, because they’re presence in VT is really just nominal at this point. The factory in Waterbury is pretty much just for show.

        1. *their (fuckin hell)

        2. BJ incentives? I like it.

      2. I know that when I was a senior at UVM several years ago, Kuerig was sponsoring a project to figure out a way to easily recycle the K-cups.

  6. The plan, which would have worked under an Obamacare waiver, has been in the works for years, but for much of that time backers of the plan struggled to identify a financing mechanism. And as soon as they did, it became clear that it was going to work.

    NOT.

    I think the second sentence is missing a word.

    1. Came here to post the same thing. The Reason proofreaders strike again. I mean literally, are they on strike?

      1. And as soon as they did, it became clear that it was going to work.

        sarcasm?

  7. This is actually BIG news. Single payer attempted and shelved. BIG.

    1. That’s because Vermont, unlike the feds, can’t simply print more money.

      1. And when reality breaks through that nothing is free, they are shocked.

    2. Expect this to be a big headline on the NY Times and covered on all the national news shows.

      Kidding!

      1. Right after they figure out how to spell Gruber.

  8. when it fails in the progressive paradise of Vermont, which lacks many of the social ills found in other Blue hotbeds, that might be a sign.

    1. Yeah, it’s a sign they didn’t try hard enough and that the corporate fatcats got their claws into Shumlin because they hate poor people. And minorities.

      /Tony

      1. Clearly the work of the KOCHTOPUS!!11!!!

      2. You’re right. Don’t know what I was thinking. It is never the idea or policy that is wrong; it is the execution of it or the taxpayer or teathuglicans or….

        1. Don’t forget false consciousness, of course.

  9. I’m shocked. SHOCKED.

    Okay, I’m not that shocked.

  10. In his defense, at least he realized that doing so would effectively kill his state, and pulled his head out of his ass long enough to say “stop”.

    There were many milestone dates built into the original enabling legislation for this where financing details were supposed to be published.

    They missed them all.

    They played the string out on this for as long as they could – when it had to be obvious on the very first day that they couldn’t afford to do it.

    They knew on the first day they had no answer to the financing question. They knew on the first day they had no answer for people who worked out of state and got insurance through out-of-state employers.

    They hid the fact that they knew it couldn’t work to get through a couple of elections and to keep the Grubers of the world employed in “plan design” for as long as they could.

    1. Imagine that on a national scale. Well, you don’t really have to imagine it, do you?

      Anyway, California was going to take a crack at it, too, but our state legislature lost its airtight Democrat majority. I’m disappointed. I wish we could have launched the Hindenburg of all state healthcare plans.

      1. Ah yes, the “Health Security Act.” Around that time I was in a room with a prog who was talking about how language is used to manipulate politics. His example was the “Peacekeeper missile.” I said the “Health Security Act” was another example. The room got quiet for a few moments.

  11. Aaaaannndd…total silence from the Vermont contingent of my FB friends, one of whom is a lobbyist in the State House for extremely liberal causes.

    1. I’m impressed you have managed to stay friends with these folks. The derp has been too strong for me.

      1. I block their political shit most of the time. The stuff about their everyday lives is normal and sometimes even interesting.

  12. It is just one of those brute/cold/hard facts of life. One has to be able to pay to get (whatever) for oneself – including medical care. As rich as the rich are, there is just not enough of them to pay for everyone else. There are too many non-rich, too few rich, and not enough of the rest.

  13. Yesterday I picked up a brand new Lotus Esprit after making $6059 this ? 4 weeks past an would you believe $10 thousand this past-month; this is actually the most-comfortable work I’ve had . I actually started 10-months ago and pretty much immediately got minimum $80 per-hr . Get More Info @
    Handsome earning dream is just a click away….. http://www.MoneyKin.Com

  14. What a shame that the richest country on earth can’t make health care a basic right. Do people still say, “We can put a man on the moon, but we can’t (fill in your favorite canard) ?

    1. Actually, we can’t put a man on the moon anymore.

      http://wapo.st/1DQulYg

      Time for a new canard. I can’t come up with anything snarky enough.

      1. Actually, I disagree with “can’t”. It’s more a matter of don’t have the guts.

        Not that I’m even arguing we should, but this country has become so risk-adverse that it’s amazing we can even drive to the store.

        1. No, can’t is the correct word. You want some future tense. But today, this year, and this decade, no we can’t, not even under the most paniced emergency program.

          1. I disagree. I think that if offered Elon Musk $10 billion to land two guys on the moon for three days and then bring them back, he’d accept the challenge and manage it within the next 5 years.

  15. Step 1: Declare single-payer healthcare for Vermonters
    Step 2: Pour oceans of red ink
    Step 3: Profit!

  16. Valerie `s posting is shocking… on saturday I bought a great new Jaguar XJ after I been earnin $6211 this last four weeks an would you believe 10k this past month . it’s by-far my favourite-work I’ve ever done . I started this eight months/ago and immediately startad bringin home over $71… per hour .
    am impresses but join this site and earn money easily.
    _________________ http://www.jobsfish.com

  17. Couldn’t they just slap another 20 dollars or so on the price of a pack of cigarettes? Jeez, Vermont – use your head a little.

    1. It would probably require another $20/gallon gasoline tax also, but that would do wonders for the environment.

      1. Those proposals are racists and you two hate poor people. What was needed was a 101% tax on millionaires! /derp

        1. Though I’m willing to go higher than 101%, if it’s really necessary. /double derp

  18. Glad to see this and store it away as a shining example of a stupid idea come to its logical end. There is a substantial group working to mandate a single payer system for all of my county, using the slogan “Single payer: it’s fair and it works!”. Now I can tell them to go take a look at VT and then think again.

    1. Now I can tell them to go take a look at VT and then think again.

      This incorrectly assumes that they ever thought in the first place.

  19. The cause trumps human life, truth, and all else, doesn’t it?

  20. Ah yeah baby! single payer down the shitter, recreational pot within two years as a consolation prize for all the old hippies. I can’t wait because I live about an hour from the VT border.

  21. Valerie `s posting is shocking… on saturday I bought a great new Jaguar XJ after I been earnin $6211 this last four weeks an would you believe 10k this past month . it’s by-far my favourite-work I’ve ever done . I started this eight months/ago and immediately startad bringin home over $71… per hour .
    am impresses but join this site and earn money easily.
    _________________ http://www.jobs700.com

  22. …and the lesson to be learned from a small state whose occupants would of had to pay for Federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid even if their citizens didn’t use is practically so arcane that it can easily be dismissed. Countries that have socialized health care programs pay less per capita than the U.S., and the evidence is that the more socialized a program is the cheaper.

    1. Those countries also have inferior healthcare to America, lower living standards, and often protection from the US military. In places like Germany, socialized healthcare is slowly retreating.

      You know all the states have M&M right? Tough luck YOU LOSE.

    2. There’s something those countries don’t pay for on the scale that we do (if at all) because they expect us to do something.

      Whatever could that be?

    3. Actually, the cheapest program is one that just bans the practice of medicine.

      For some reason, people care about other metrics. Stupid capitalists.

    4. would of

      It’s would’ve.

    5. american socialist|12.18.14 @ 1:49PM|#
      …”Countries that have socialized health care programs pay less per capita than the U.S.”…

      Yeah, dipshit, you paid less for that pile of bolts you drive than I did for a decent automobile, also.

  23. A state that sends socialist Bernie Sanders to the Senate can’t get single payer through? This is an even bigger set back for collectivism than Suderman knows.

    1. America will never have fully socialized healthcare/single payer. Never. Even if Ocare is not repealed.

    2. Circumstances like this make me wonder how socialized medicine managed to sweep the free world. About all I can imagine is that it took hold because the avg. person’s medical care was so poor that even very inefficient & regimented redistribution of care from the rich pretty much wowed everyone.

  24. …and the lesson to be learned from a small state whose occupants would of had to pay for Federal programs like Medicare and Medicaid even if their citizens didn’t use is practically so arcane that it can easily be dismissed.

    engrish plz

  25. I want a state to do a libertarian health care reform: slash through a ton of regulations and let new technology and the market drop costs and thus expand access. GOP presidential contenders should be pushing such a plan, the compromise/selling point to moderates being “only for states that want it.” We only need one as an example. It’s a way to destroy Obamacare from the flank.

    Don’t try for libertarian perfection at first, just a big step in that direction. E.g.: insurance sale across state lines. No insurance coverage mandates. Let pharmacists and nurses do more. No certificate of need laws. Allow drugs without FDA approval “in special circumstances.” Off-label uses. That sort of thing.

    Come up with a coherent plan and push it from now to 2016. Reason, Cato, Heritage, and the rest of you think tanks: get to it!

    1. We only need one as an example. It’s a way to destroy Obamacare from the flank.

      And leftists would fight your plan tooth and nail because they know it would work.

      1. They’re already on record in opposition to OTC BCP.

      2. True, but I think it’s the best way to defeat them on this. It’s a reasonable “experiment.” If Scott Walker can neuter the public employee unions in Wisconsin and get away with it, I think this could not only fly nationally, but defeat Hillary or whoever in 2016. Make them argue against technology and freedom and experimentation and regulation and lowering costs.

    2. GOP presidential contenders should be pushing such a plan
      This is the flaw in your theory, the idea that Republican contenders would want less government. They’re conservative, not libertarian. Expect to hear about restrictions on abortion, mandating traditional marriage, and double-down on pot prohibition.

  26. my buddy’s half-sister makes $86 hourly on the internet . She has been unemployed for six months but last month her pay check was $15195 just working on the internet for a few hours. read…….

    http://www.Jobs-spot.com

    1. Can we get a “Flag as spam” button, please? These jerks are getting annoying.

      1. Get the “reasonable” guy on it.

        The other half of Hit ‘n’ Run that they forgot to code.?

  27. Even though the finances don’t work out at the state level there is still hope for implementation at the national level.

    A 2004 economic study published in The New England Journal of Medicine determined that a national single-payer healthcare system would reduce costs by more than $400 billion a year despite the expansion of comprehensive care to all Americans. No other plan projects this kind of savings.

    Do not be disheartened, the march toward progress continues. We will have a Single-Payer system where:

    Each person, regardless of ability to pay would receive high-quality, comprehensive medical care, and the free choice of doctors and hospitals. Individuals would receive no bills, and copayment and deductibles would be eliminated. Most people would pay less overall for health care than they pay now.

    1. Even more reasons to keep our hopes up

      While providing superior health care, a single-payer system would save as much as $570 billion now wasted on administrative overhead and monopoly profits. A single-payer system would also make health-care financing dramatically more progressive by replacing fixed, income-invariant health-care expenditures with progressive taxes…

      The single-payer system would be paid for by a variety of taxes. The Tobin tax is a tax on financial transactions that would raise revenue while discouraging the types of speculative finance that led to the current economic crisis. The remaining revenue would come from taxes targeted at those best able to pay, including those with high incomes and with incomes from property (including capital gains, dividends, interest, profits, and rents).

      1. blast|12.18.14 @ 3:23PM|#
        “While providing superior health care, a single-payer system would save as much as $570 billion now wasted on administrative overhead and monopoly profits.”

        OH NO! Not MONOPOLY PROFITS!!!!!!!!!!
        You forgot “Serve the PEOPLE!”
        Fuck off.

        1. OH NO! Not MONOPOLY PROFITS!!!!!!!!!!
          You forgot “Serve the PEOPLE!”
          Fuck off.

          Well hello to you too. I am not sure what you are getting on about. I was merely providing links to show that Single-Payer can work at the national level.

          Something needs to be done.

          They determined that the uninsured have a 40 percent higher risk of death than those with private health insurance as a result of being unable to obtain necessary medical care.

          1. The idea that providing anything “free” will lower overall costs is patently absurd. It simply never happens.

            1. The idea that providing anything “free” will lower overall costs is patently absurd.

              The cost reductions will come from improved health (lower bills down the road) due to access previously denied. Costs will also be reduced due to a reduction in bureaucratic “paper-work”. Finally, costs will come down by limiting the massive profits companies are reaping; profits gained in part by exploiting desperate and disadvantaged people.

              Demand may increase but costs will plummet.

              Despite this unimpressive record, the US spends almost twice as much per person on healthcare as any other nation. As a result of an incredibly wasteful, bureaucratic, profit-making and complicated system, the US spends 17% of its gross domestic product ? approximately $2.7tn annually? on healthcare. While insurance companies, drug companies, private hospitals and medical equipment suppliers make huge profits, Americans spend more and get less for their healthcare dollars.

              1. Yeah, blast, about that “improved health” – you have read about Oregon, right?

              2. blast|12.18.14 @ 4:34PM|#
                “The cost reductions will come from improved health (lower bills down the road) due to access previously denied.”

                Bullshit. Never happened, never will.

              3. Oh, and I think you may be lost.
                Citing Guardian propaganda by Bernie Sanders isn’t gonna get many converts here.
                You might just as well tell us that Pelosi had the right idea all along.

          2. It really is a special brand of retarded that says this will only work if we can scale it up.

          3. blast|12.18.14 @ 3:56PM|#
            “Well hello to you too. I am not sure what you are getting on about.”

            Your pack of lies, is what I’m getting on about.
            And the tired commie claims of “monopoly profits”. Where’d you dig that up, some Stalinist speech from 1940?

      2. a single-payer system would save as much as $570 billion now wasted on administrative overhead and monopoly profits
        1. Almost all of the administrative overhead in medicine is government-mandated. No government program in history has ever reduced those costs, most have increased them.
        2. A government-run program is the ultimate monopoly, where “profits” are replaced by “funding for mandated programs.”

        To be fair, it will eliminate economic crises, as there will no longer be an economy.

  28. “struggled to identify a financing mechanism. And as soon as they did, it became clear that it was going to work.”

    Pretty sure that was supposed to be wasn’t going to work.

  29. They were unable to find the right kind of tree to pick their free healthcare from.

  30. 1. Canadians seem to be happy with their single-payer health care, in spite of the taxes. They don’t have to worry about going bankrupt over it. Does liberty require the law of the jungle for everyone who isn’t rich?

    2. Any system would be a lot cheaper if there weren’t the AMA (a non-governmental organization) and the FDA and the big pharmaceutical companies (private enterprise, also non-governmental) pushing expensive treatments and not allowing things that make sense instead of money.

    1. 1. A combination strawman/false alternative born from semantic corruption; not forcing someone else to provide you with free shit does not = “the law of the jungle”. Even if it were true that only rich people could afford to get healthcare, the high cost of healthcare is directly attributable to the insane amount of intervention in that industry. It is no accident that the two most regulated industries in this country–healthcare and finance–are the most fucked up, expensive, and corrupt.

      2. “Things that make sense” are what happen in a free market. There is nothing close to a free market in healthcare, and that’s why you see distortion, misallocation, inefficiency, and grossly inflated costs all over the place.

    2. Sorgfelt|12.18.14 @ 10:25PM|#
      I was going to beat on your for your pathetic display of duplicity, but I see Libertarius has done a fine job already.
      So I’ll simply mention that if you ever chose to learn something instead of spouting lefty bullshit, please come back.
      Until thin, fuck off, slaver.

    3. Ya know, this is just TOO stupid to get a pass:

      “2. Any system would be a lot cheaper if there weren’t the AMA (a non-governmental organization) and the FDA and the big pharmaceutical companies (private enterprise, also non-governmental) pushing expensive treatments and not allowing things that make sense instead of money.”

      For starters, the AMA is a quasi-governmental agency; the government rubber stamps what the AMA proposes.
      Further, those ‘private enterprise’ companies HAVE NO GUNS, you stupid pile of shit!
      They cannot force anyone to do anything, unlike the government agencies you support!
      What a fucking ignoramus.

  31. It would have been interesting if it HAD been implemented. The six (6) people left in the state for the 2020 census could have elected two Senators and a Congressman.

  32. Kelly `s st0rry is great, on thursday I got a top of the range Fiat Multipla from having made $5941 thiss month and-more than, 10k lass-month . it’s definitly my favourite work I’ve ever had . I started this three months/ago and pretty much immediately started bringin home minimum $70 per hour .
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  33. Cannabinoid medicine could save the US $1 trillion a year.

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