Moral Low Ground

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‘The Moral High Ground’: Vermont Senate Passes Universal Health Care Bill

Once again, tiny Vermont is showing the nation that another America is possible. The state legislature, encouraged by Democratic Governor Peter Shumlin, is in the process of establishing single-payer, universal health care for everyone, much like every other country in the developed world has long since done.

According to ThinkProgress, the Vermont House of Representatives voted 92-49 last month to advance a bill that would create a single-payer health insurance system in the state. Now the Senate has done the same, voting 21-9 in favor of a similar bill.

The successful vote followed a “lengthy debate” on the bill’s amendments, most of which are designed to make the proposal easier for corporate and business interests to swallow. The bill now heads to a conference committee where the House and Senate versions will be reconciled. Then it’s off to the Governor’s desk. Good thing for Vermont that Shumlin believes that “health care will be a right and not a privilege.”

Still, there are pitfalls remaining, chiefly getting a waiver from the federal health care reform act better known as Obamacare. Getting around federal laws barring states from enacting laws related to employee benefit plans could be tricky as well. Still, Vermont has taken a huge step forward towards ensuring all of its citizens enjoy the basic human right of health care.

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