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Feliciano Takes Aim At Shumlin's Single Payer 'Fantasy'

Bob Kinzel
Republican gubernatorial candidate Dan Feliciano speaks in the Cedar Creek Room at the Vermont Statehouse in Montpelier on Sept. 3.

Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Dan Feliciano says Governor Peter Shumlin’s  plan to implement the country’s first state run single payer system is a “fantasy” that has caused enormous harm to thousands of Vermonters.  

Feliciano is offering a very different vision that he says will provide affordable health care.

Since the passage of Act 48 in 2011, Governor Peter Shumlin and the Legislature have put Vermont on track to become the first state in the country to implement a single payer health care system.

Feliciano says if he is elected governor in November, he will repeal virtually everything Shumlin has put into place.

Feliciano says Vermont’s health care exchange has been a disaster and a waste of more than $100 million. He wants to shut it down and allow people to transfer into the federal exchange system. Participation would be voluntary.

"There is a better way. We can provide affordable health care choices to Vermonters but the government needs to get out of the way." - Libertarian gubernatorial candidate Dan Feliciano who wants to shut down the Vermont Health Care Exchange

Feliciano says lawmakers made a huge mistake when they created the state exchange as the first step to single payer.

“The real answer to this question is to fulfill Peter Shumlin’s fantasy of being the first governor to implement single payer health care. The governor has disregarded the needs of Vermonters in his quest,” said Feliciano. “There is a better way. We can provide affordable health care choices to Vermonters but the government needs to get out of the way.”

Feliciano says he would disband the Green Mountain Care Board, a group that oversees all hospital budgets and health insurance rates.  

He also wants to eliminate many of the state’s health insurance regulations to encourage more private companies to do business in Vermont.

While Shumlin says Vermonters have a “right” to health care, Feliciano has a different approach.

“I think people have the right to choose if they want to buy health care -- not coerced into buying heath care,” said Feliciano. “There are people who don’t want to buy health care who would rather have a catastrophic plan so again it comes down to choice."

Feliciano is convinced that public support for single payer will collapse once Shumlin unveils the roughly $2 billion tax package that will replace the current premium based system.

“I think once they see what this is going to cost, once the numbers are released for single payer, people are going to be floored,” said Feliciano. “And everyone is going to be scrambling to figure out what to do differently -- what to do next.”

Shumlin’s campaign manager, Scott Coriell, said in a written statement, “Vermonters know exactly where the governor stands on health care; his plan will simplify the system so every Vermonter has insurance.”

Coriell added that Feliciano’s proposals would cost Vermonters millions in lost subsidies and do nothing to reduce costs.