One of the nice things about being a conservative is that we are almost always eventually proven right. It is unfortunate that it causes so much pain to learn these lessons – and that they have to keep being relearned.
Vermont was supposed to be the beacon for a single-payer health care system in America. But now its plans are in ruins, and its onetime champion Gov. Peter Shumlin may have set back the cause.
Advocates of a “Medicare for all” approach were largely sidelined during the national Obamacare debate. The health law left a private insurance system in place and didn’t even include a weaker “public option” government plan to run alongside more traditional commercial ones.
Story Continued Below
So single-payer advocates looked instead to make a breakthrough in the states. Bills have been introduced from Hawaii to New York; former Medicare chief Don Berwick made it a key plank of his unsuccessful primary race for Massachusetts governor.
Vermont under Shumlin became the most visible trailblazer. Until Wednesday, when the governor admitted what critics had said all along: He couldn’t pay for it.
“It is not the right time for Vermont” to pass a single-payer system, Shumlin acknowledged in a public statement ending his signature initiative. He concluded the 11.5 percent payroll assessments on businesses and sliding premiums up to 9.5 percent of individuals’ income “might hurt our economy.”