Vermont leading the way on health care reform?

by Robert Maynard

Vermont’s advocates of ShumlinCare have been clear in their attention of leading the charge in a national push to take the government takeover of our healthcare system even further than it has been under ObamaCare.  Not content that ObamaCare went far enough in that direction, ShumlinCare activists are set on Vermont becoming the “Saskatchewan of the U.S.” in a national push for a Canadian style single payer system.  Although unintentional, they have got off to a good start in leading the way in one respect.  The rollout of ObamaCare has been a disaster and some national activists are suggesting that the fix to this problem is to go with a full blown single payer system.  So, how is Vermont’s experiment doing in leading the way out of this mess?  According to a Daily BeastVermont’s advocates of ShumlinCare have been clear in their attention of leading the charge in a national push to take the government takeover of our healthcare system even further than it has been under ObamaCare.  Not content that ObamaCare went far enough in that direction, ShumlinCare activists are set on Vermont becoming the “Saskatchewan of the U.S.” in a national push for a Canadian style single payer system.  Although unintentional, they have got off to a good start in leading the way in one respect.  The rollout of ObamaCare has been a disaster and some national activists are suggesting that the fix to this problem is to go with a full blown single payer system.  So, how is Vermont’s experiment doing in leading the way out of this mess?  According to a Daily Beast article: “Health care in Vermont may be headed for a unique train wreck.”  In other words, as bad as the roll out of ObamaCare has been, the rollout of Shumlincare is looking worse.  Perhaps we are leading the nation by demonstrating how not to do this.  Here is an excerpt from the article:

What about a smaller state, one that overwhelmingly supported the president’s election and reelection, is progressive in its politics, and even had a vibrant and extensive state-run health-care program already in place prior to the ACA? That would be tiny Vermont. Surely with its Democratic governor and Democratic and Socialist senators, it can serve as a laboratory for Obamacare implementation, leading the way through the darkness of those “glitches.”

But, alas, not so, at least not yet. The reality is that Vermont’s health-care exchange website may be even a bigger mess than the federal-run HealthCare.Gov. And health care in Vermont may be headed for a unique train wreck due to its efforts to become the first state in the country to implement a single payer plan.

One of the president’s key selling points of the ACA was the promise that if you liked your plan, you could keep it. We’re learning that’s often not the case as Obamacare is implemented across the country. And in Vermont, there has been no pretense of such assurance.

As of January 1, 2014, in Vermont, the ability for individuals or employers with 50 or fewer employees to purchase health insurance from private insurance companies ceases to exist. As for policies already covering those businesses and individuals? Those cease to exist, as well. In other words, in Vermont, a good percentage of its population will have no choice but to buy health insurance through the state exchange.

But despite the urgency of getting the exchange launch right and the givens that should make it easier rather than difficult—small state, high rate of literacy, 98 percent English speaking—Vermont’s website seems as bad or worse than the federal system.

So what is the message we are sending to the rest of the nation?  Perhaps it is “Don’t try this in your state.”