Author: Vermont should heed woes of UK, Canadian single-payer systems

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin's failure to win re-election outright could jeopardize the state's plan to create a single-payer healthcare system, but that's a good thing, according to Sally C. Pipes, writing at National Review Online.

Pipes--president, CEO, and Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies at the Pacific Research Institute, a think tank--is author of the book, "The Cure for Obamacare."

She writes that single-payer systems in Britain and Canada aren't working out, adding that the Vermont plan--even if it could work out its technology issues--is something the state can't afford.

"Vermonters should be thrilled that single payer has false-started in their state. For evidence that single payer doesn't work, look no further than the United Kingdom and Canada," Pipes writes.

Britain's National Health Service is projected to face budget shortfalls of nearly $47 billion a year by 2020, she says, with more than 3 million people on waiting lists for treatment. Meanwhile, 78 percent of Canadians over the age of 45 worry that they won't be able to access care when they need it, according to an August poll commissioned by the Canadian Medical Association.

Since no gubernatorial candidate in Vermont received a majority of votes in the November election, the Legislature must choose the winner in January. Shumlin has been one of the most ardent supporters of the plan to institute a single-payer system that's estimated to cost the state as much as $2.2 billion annually. His administration had been due to unveil in January a plan for raising the money for the healthcare system, projected to start in 2017.

Vermont annually raises and spends about $1.8 billion in its general, transportation and education funds. The projected $2 billion for healthcare is expected to replace premiums that employers and workers pay, according to the Valley News. The state currently generates $157 million a year in revenue from a provider tax, FierceHealthFinance reported earlier.

Despite the Vermont exchange's troubles, a perspective piece published in the New England Journal of Medicine lauded the state for taking the lead in implementing federal and state healthcare reforms. And 2015 hospital budgets in Vermont will rise only 3 percent, one of the lowest rates on record.

To learn more:
- read the article
- here's the Valley News story

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