(This article was first published on the Yahoo Contributors Network on December 14, 2013)
”Everybody in, nobody out” is the slogan of Vermont’s Single-Payer Health Care system. Funded through Medicare, Medicaid, an increase in taxes, and through Vermont’s acceptance of federal funding via Obamacare (ACA), the system will be operational by 2017. Under the plan, Vermonters will be able to go to any doctor or hospital in the state free of charge. There will be no more premiums, deductibles, and copays. There will be no multifaceted plans to decipher, no insurance forms, and no gotchas from private insurance providers. Medicare recipients will no longer need to sort out enrollment options from an inch-thick handbook.
Moreover, when they receive a pay raise, Vermont’s workers will be pleased to find they will no longer experience health benefit cost increases that in the past would make any pay raise in effect null and void.
Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) believes that if Vermont can show that they are providing cost-effective healthcare for all its residents, taking the healthcare burden off small business as well, Vermont’s success with a universal single-payer healthcare system will lead the way for the nation to follow suit.
ACA’s intent at the outset was to enact a law that would put into place a universal single-payer healthcare system. Instead, ACA was the result of compromise in order to get the law passed. In the end, not a single Republican voted for ACA even though the law made many concessions to them, which became its downside because it still relied on private insurance companies to provide healthcare coverage.
Fortunately, ACA provides states with the ability to setup their own healthcare plans. It provides states with federal funds to expand Medicaid. States who choose to expand are able to implement their own state exchanges (Health Insurance Marketplaces).
(The federal healthcare exchange was setup to offer healthcare insurance under ACA to the residents of those states who chose not to expand under ACA.)
That means ACA opens the door for states to setup their own universal single-payer healthcare system. But, so far, states that chose to accept federal funding under ACA only have chosen to offer their own healthcare exchanges. Vermont is the only state to enact a single-payer plan.
Under Obamacare, the United States will probably still be the most costly system compared with other nations, and even though our healthcare outcomes might improve, outcomes will remain not as good.
So, all eyes should be on Vermont because the only long-term solution to America's healthcare crisis is a single-payer national healthcare program.
Copyright © 2014 Horatio Green