Nine-person Committee To Recommend Tax For Single-payer

The Shumlin administration and top legislative leaders will delegate to a nine-person panel the task of coming up with a way to finance single-payer health care.

The issue of financing has followed the Democratic governor since he made single-payer the cornerstone of his gubernatorial agenda in 2010. The single-payer law enacted five months after his election directed his administration to deliver a financing plan by last month. Shumlin, however, said it was still premature to tell Vermonters what tax he’d use to pay for the universal system.

The decision to form the new panel defers until 2015 the unveiling of an official financing recommendation.

The panel will includes two appointees each from Shumlin, House Speaker Shap Smith and Senate President John Campbell. The three men will then decide together who should fill the three remaining seats.

“They will really dig into the issue of what the cost of the system will be and how the system is currently financed, and what a system going forward would like if you financed it a different way,” Smith said today. “I would see them putting forward a financing plan that supported a single-payer plan, or as close to single-payer as we could get under law.”

For more on this story, check out tomorrow’s editions of The Times Argus and Rutland Herald.

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