WAMC News, North Country News
5:03 pm
Thu May 17, 2012

Health Exchange Bill Signed

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin has signed into law the state’s next step in a multi-year effort to revamp Vermont's health care system and make it a single payer system similar to Canada's.

Governor Peter Shumlin signed the Health Care Exchange Bill Wednesday afternoon. It sets up a regulated health care marketplace, or "exchange", in compliance with the federal health care reform law that was passed two years ago.  Governor Shumlin says it will help Vermont move towards the state’s planned  single payer system.

Vermont Medical Society Executive Vice President Paul Harrington says their physicians want their patients to have insurance and support health care coverage.  But Harrington notes that there could be a glitch in the federal health care exchange program that Vermont’s new law accommodates.

Vermonters for Health Care Freedom Executive Director Jeff Wennberg says if done properly, an exchange can be a positive step towards more affordable and accessible health care.  But Wennberg opposes Vermont’s health exchange statute.

Vermont Campaign For Health Care Security Education Fund Policy Director Donna Sutton-Faye counters that there will be numerous choices available under Vermont’s exchange.

Vermont hopes to implement a single-payer health insurance program by 2017.