Single Payer

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Shumlin reflects on single payer failure

MONTPELIER — Former Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said money, wary lawmakers and timing were the core challenges that ultimately caused his failure to deliver on a promise to implement a single-payer health care system in the state. The former Democratic governor reflected on that failure Tuesday at a forum at Harvard’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health. Shumlin ran for governor in 2010 on a platform that promised voters a single-payer system. But he announced after his 2014 re-election bid that his administration would not be moving forward with the plan. He cited the tremendous cost of the program and the burden that would be placed on the state’s limited tax base. Continue Reading →

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Another GOP lawmaker appears on Fox

Rutland County Sen. Kevin Mullin is the latest GOP lawmaker in Vermont to appear on Fox News to address comments by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber that have come to light in recent weeks. Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning of Caledonia County appeared on the network earlier this week. Mullin said dealing with the fallout of Gruber’s comments is “a complicated issue.” The Shumlin administration announced Wednesday that Gruber will no longer receive payment for his work, but his team of researchers and graduate assistants will continue to be paid. “The state’s in the position where the work is almost finished, but it’s going to be a work that the public is not going to have confidence in,” Mullin said. Continue Reading →

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Gruber to receive no additional pay from state

MONTPELIER — Jonathan Gruber, the contractor under fire for degrading remarks he’s made in the past several years about voters and a Vermont commentator, will be expected to complete economic modeling for the state but will not receive any more pay, according to state officials. Chief of Health Care Reform Lawrence Miller reiterated the Shumlin administration’s disappointment with Gruber’s comments on Wednesday. He also said Gruber has been informed that he will not receive further payment on the $400,000 contracted agreed to in July. Gruber and his team have been paid a total of $160,000 so far, according to Scott Coriell, a spokesman for Gov. Peter Shumlin. “As the Governor and I have said, the comments by Mr. Gruber are offensive, inappropriate and do not reflect the thinking of this administration or how we do things in Vermont. Continue Reading →

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Benning calls for Gruber’s termination on Fox

Senate Minority leader Joe Benning appeared on Fox News’ “On the Record With Greta Van Susteran” Tuesday to discuss recent comments by MIT economist Jonathan Gruber. The chorus calling for Gruber’s ouster as a state contractor has been growing louder in Vermont this week. Campaign for Vermont, a nonprofit advocacy group that claims to be nonpartisan, directed people by Twitter to its website to sign a petition in favor of terminating Gruber’s contract. And a trio of House Republicans released a letter to Shumlin on Monday calling on the governor to do just that. Gruber’s work is being questioned because of questionable comments he has made on several occasions in the last several years. During a 2011 hearing of the House Health Care Committee, then-Chairman Mark Larson read aloud comments written by John McClaughry, a former state senator and policy advisor for President Ronald Reagan. Continue Reading →

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State to retain Gruber through end of contract

Vermont Gov. Peter Shumlin said Monday that a state contractor under fire for derisive comments he has made about American voters and a Vermont commentator will not have his state contract terminated despite calls to do so by Republicans. Jonathan Gruber, a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist, has a personal services contract with Vermont that will pay him up to $400,000 to test economic models related to Shumlin’s universal, publicly-financed health care proposal, often referred to as a single payer system. Another $50,000 can be used to subcontract with Moody’s Analytics for macroeconomic modeling. The contract allows the the state to use the Gruber Microsimulation Model that Gruber developed to simulate the implementation of Shumlin’s plan and test various financing mechanisms. The contract began in July and runs through Feb. 15, with an option to renew the contract for up to one year. Continue Reading →

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