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Vermont Legislature committees don't ordinarily clap or shout "yahoo" when they vote out a bill, but Wednesday, members of the Senate Health and Welfare Committee celebrated their unanimous recommendation on the contentious health reform bill
"It is done," Chairwoman Claire Ayer, D-Addison, declared following the 5-0 vote on the committee's revised version of the bill, which would put Vermont on the road toward creation of a government-financed health insurance plan called Green Mountain Care by 2017. The legislation, a priority for Gov. Peter Shumlin, already passed the House.
Lawmakers are inching closer to a vote on the bill that sets Vermont on the course to a single-payer system. The vote could come as early as Friday if debate on several proposed amendments moves quickly.
The Senate Health and Welfare Committee signed off on the legislation last week after making some changes to the version passed by the House. Those include reducing the authority of the special board that will oversee health care decisions.
Statement of purpose: This bill proposes to set forth a strategic plan for creating a single-payer and unified health system. It would establish a board to ensure cost-containment in health care, to create system-wide budgets, and to pursue payment reform; establish a health benefit exchange for Vermont as required under federal health care reform laws; create a public–private single-payer health care system to provide coverage for all Vermonters after receipt of federal waivers; create a consumer and health care professional advisory board; examine reforms to Vermont’s medical malpractice system; modify the insurance rate review process; and create a statewide drug formulary.