PR – R.I.P. Single Payer

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE, December 17, 2014

Back in 2011, Governor Peter Shumlin promised, “We will only go ahead [with Green Mountain Care] if we’re th-3convinced together as a state, that the system is better than what we have, that it costs less, it’s going to help create jobs, and we’ve got the cost containment system right. If we can’t do that, we’ll take our marbles and go home.”

Today he kept that promise amidst the realization that single payer healthcare will do none of those things.

The Administration’s tax policy expert Michael Costa’s press conference presentation showed that Green Mountain Care would require $2.6 billion in new taxes, not the $1.9 -$2.2 billion most recently forecast.

A single payer plan that might have been affordable (an 80% actuarial plan) would not have been better than what we have now, but rather “a step backward.”

Far from helping to create jobs, the 11.5% payroll tax needed to pay for the program would have decimated Vermont’s small businesses, and dealt a serious blow to the state’s ERISA employers, who would have had to pay twice (both taxes and premiums) to keep their current plans.

As for cost containment, Costa’s numbers show Green Mountain Care moving into the red just four years into its existence.

In addition, the promised hundreds of millions in cost savings were non-existent, Shumlin’s optimism for getting necessary federal waivers was misplaced, and the complexity of being a small state going it alone was naively underestimated.

The question that remains here is why did it take so long for advocates to realize what has been so obvious since very early on in this process? All of these “realizations” have been pointed out numerous times over the three-and-a-half years by critics of Green Mountain Care, including the Ethan Allen Institute.

EAI president Rob Roper said, “The high costs and practical roadblocks that doomed Green Mountain Care have always been there to see for those willing to look. We are proud to have played a role in educating the public as to the many pitfalls of single payer, and are gratified that the ill-conceived program is dead, at least for now. We are, however, sorry that three plus years and millions of dollars were wasted unnecessarily.”

Reform of our healthcare system is necessary, and now that the government-run solutions have proven a failure, it’s time to look at some realistic free market solutions that will reduce costs, expand coverage, and attract new doctors to the Green Mountain State.


Contact: Rob Roper
President, Ethan Allen Institute


{ 1 comment… read it below or add one }

Valerie Mullin December 18, 2014 at 12:43 am

What a shame. millions of Vermont dollars which could have been better spent, gone because of a dream of what common sense Vermonter’s knew should never come to fruition. I don’t trust Shumlin and his followers not to have another pipe dream up their sleeve to appease the dreamers.


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The Ethan Allen Institute is Vermont’s free-market public policy research and education organization. Founded in 1993, we are one of fifty-plus similar but independent state-level, public policy organizations around the country which exchange ideas and information through the State Policy Network.

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