Pressure mounts for Vermont lieutenant governor to take single-payer position

Prominent members of his own party wonder why, after more than 2 1/2 years, Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott refuses to take a position on the state’s single-payer health-care law.

Scott said he remains “skeptical.”

In an interview with Vermont Watchdog, that’s the best Scott could offer as the state moves to implement the first-of-its kind law. Scott maintains there isn’t enough information yet to know how much it would cost, how it will be paid for, what it will look like or what it will cover in terms of health services.

“I’m a skeptic when it comes to the single-payer model,” Scott told Watchdog, “but at the same time I try to be objective because I’ve argued that I don’t have enough information to know whether it works here in Vermont. So it’s difficult for me to oppose something when I don’t know what it is,” said Scott.

While passed in 2011, Vermont’s single-payer plan, Green Mountain Care, needs federal approval of its health care exchange to be eligible for federal funding needed to run the program. Green Mountain care might not get off the ground until 2017.

Green Mountain Care aims to provide health coverage to each of the state’s 626,000 residents through a state-run unified health-care system, which, proponents say, would dramatically reduce premiums because of less expensive administrative costs for private insurers.

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