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Vermont Governor Ready to Sign Universal Health Care Bill

By Rebecca Adams, CQ HealthBeat Associate Editor

May 5, 2011 -- The Vermont House of Representatives has cleared for Gov. Peter Shumlin's signature a bill to create a publicly financed health care program that some supporters call a state "single payer" system.

Shumlin, a Democrat, has said that he is eager to sign the measure.

The legislation follows through on the requirement in the 2010 health care law (PL 111-148, PL 111-152) for states to create health insurance exchanges, markets for individuals and small businesses to buy coverage. The Vermont exchange would provide a public health program, known as Green Mountain Care, for Vermont residents. The Vermont bill would allow people covered under the state plan to buy supplemental private insurance policies from private insurers.

State officials say that about 47,000 people in Vermont are uninsured.

The measure does not solve the problem of how to pay for the new system. Future legislation would be needed to resolve that question.

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