The Vermont House passed the final version of a health care reform bill last week that creates a path for a universal, publicly financed health care system in the state.

All residents will be eligible for coverage under the system, dubbed “Green Mountain Care.” Originally touted as a “single-payer plan,” the measure is referred to as a “universal and unified health system” in the bill (H. 202) that passed the legislature.

According to an article by the Burlington Free Press, House Speaker Shap Smith, D-Morristown, announced the 94-49 vote on H.202.

Gov. Peter Shumlin (D) says he expect to sign the bill into law. “This really is an extraordinarily exciting moment for Vermont,” says Shumlin. “We have a long way to travel, but I am convinced we can get health care right and this is the bill that will get us there.”

In a recent MedPage Today article, the single-payer advocacy group Physicians for a National Health Program has said the plan is not a true single-payer model because it still allows a role for private insurance companies and patients would continue to face copayments for medical treatment.

Click here to read a Q&A with Bob Gaydos, president of the Benefits Group of New England, about Vermont’s move toward a single-payer system.

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