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.

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