Dem candidates for Lt. Governor discuss health care

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(Host) The two Democrats seeking the party’s nomination for Lt. Governor say they both support the implementation of a single payer health care system in the state of Vermont but they disagree on how quickly this system should be put into place.

Under the single payer approach, individuals would no longer receive their health care benefits from their employers through a private health insurance policy – instead there would be a single administrative system for all Vermonters that would mostly likely be financed, in part, through a payroll tax.

Speaking on VPR’s Switchboard program, former state senator Cheryl Rivers says she wants the state to move toward a single-payer system as quickly as possible.

(Rivers) “There’s a sense of urgency to this. Obviously we need to have good information before we move forward, but over the course of my career I’ve listened to other politicians talk about their commitment to single payer, but then come up with 40 different ways to take years and years and years. And of course we need transition and we need to be thoughtful, but we need strong resolve to move forward.”

(Host) Former state senator Jan Backus, however, is urging a more cautious timetable.

(Backus) “It’s a very delicate process and I think we have to be absolutely up front and lay out the transition for people, not over promise, not say everyone will have health care and no one will pay any money. We have to do those studies carefully so that the public trusts us, because if we over promise again and lose the support of the public I’m really worried about what will happen.”

(Host) The winner of next week’s primary contest will meet Republican incumbent Brian Dubie and Progressive Steve Hingtgen in the November 2nd election.

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