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On Forbes, Ricochet’s own Avik Roy has a good summary of the implosion of single-payer healthcare in Vermont. I’ve been writing about it on my blog, but Avik’s is probably the best summary of why Green Mountain Care’s demise was inevitable. He writes:
What’s remarkable, then, about Shumlin’s attempt at single-payer health care is not that it failed. What’s remarkable is that he wasted the state’s time and resources on something that attempted to refute the laws of arithmetic. That’s four years Shumlin wasn’t spending on making the Vermont economy better for the people who live there. Small wonder that his reelection margin was razor-thin.
If there’s one quote that sums up the whole episode, it’s the one from Anya Rader-Wallack, declaring that “we can move full speed ahead…without knowing where the money’s coming from.” Green Mountain Care attempted to offer Vermonters more generous coverage than they currently had, but couldn’t figure out how to convince doctors and hospitals to accept pay cuts, nor workers to accept tax hikes.
What really struck me as the worst aspect of the single-payer lunacy was that the financing for it was completely and utterly impossible, a financial fact clear to anyone who made even a cursory glance at the state’s historical tax receipts. And yet, they plowed full-steam ahead, missing deadline after deadline that they’d imposed on themselves a scant two years earlier.
As Avik notes, though, the laughably mis-named “single-payer” idea is not dead. I expect we’ll see capitated budgets that will force hospitals to reduce costs by rationing care and cutting salaries. A full 63% of budget of the state’s biggest hospital is labor, which means — if you’re looking to cut costs — there’s a big fat red target on the back of employees.
And here I thought that health care reform would be a “job creator.”