Vermont's Universal Healthcare Could Cost $9.5B a Year by 2020

New projections by the state of Vermont predict that a public, universal healthcare system could cost between $8.2 billion and $9.5 billion annually by 2020, according to a Washington Post report.

This cost amounts to $13,000-$14,000 per resident. The state believes that staying with the current system, which is based on private insurers, would cost even more. If lawmakers do not approve Vermont's single-payor system, included in a healthcare law to be approved this year, costs for a private system would surpass $10 billion by 2020, according to the report.

No final decision on the system is expected until 2013, after the 2012 presidential elections. Whether or not the changes are implemented, the state expects healthcare spending to double in the current decade. In 2009, Vermont residents spent $4.7 billion on healthcare, and healthcare has grown from 10 percent of the state economy in 1992 to 19 percent in 2009.

This year's legislation aims to achieve savings by reducing paperwork, in part because physician offices will no longer need to file claims with multiple payors. Supports say the legislation would also save $90 million to $149 million by eliminating the role of insurance companies and consolidating public health programs.

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