Vermont Passes Single-Payer Health Care, World Doesn’t End

As Gov. Peter Shumlin took his spot on the granite steps of the Vermont State House, a row of people fanned out behind him wearing bright red t-shirts proclaiming, “Health care is a human right.” The slogan sounded noble, and wildly unrealistic. Until the governor spoke.

“We gather here today to launch the first single-payer health care system in America,” began Shumlin, a Democrat who has been governor barely four months. “To do in Vermont what has taken too long: have a health care system, the best in the world, that treats health care as a right, and not a privilege."

[…] The push for single payer system in Vermont was built slowly and methodically over the last decade, but has moved with remarkable speed since Shumlin took office in January. […] Single payer advocates have been a constant and visible presence around the state. The independent Vermont Workers’ Center launched its “health care is a human right” campaign in 2008—inspired, said health care organizer James Haslam, by the desperate calls the Center was receiving on its workers’ hotline. “It was becoming more of a health care hotline,” he said. The group’s members went door to door, conducted numerous forums for legislators and organized health care rallies that drew thousands.

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