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Health reform compromise passes VT Senate

The Burlington Free Press, May 5, 2011

Vermont's legislative roadmap to dramatic reform of health care is two steps from becoming law. All that remains is a vote in the House, expected Thursday, and Gov. Peter Shumlin's signature. The Senate endorsed the revised bill Tuesday afternoon. The bill doesn't pull the trigger on a single-payer healthcare system for the state, but sets up a process to explore dozens of questions connected with making such a significant change in three to five years. It also sets a list of conditions that would have to be met before "Green Mountain Care" could begin, such as legislative approval of a way to pay for the program and waivers from federal rules. In the meantime, the bill also authorizes the creation of a health benefit exchange — a new insurance marketplace mandated by the federal health reform law. The exchange would begin in 2014.