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Senate OKs health care

MONTPELIER-Vermont moved one step closer to a single-payer, statewide health care plan April 26. The Vermont Senate voted 21-9 in favor of H.202, a bill that should pave the way to a government controlled single-payer health care system.

State Sens. Claire Ayer (D-Weybridge) and Harold Giard (D-Bridport) voted in favor of the bill. Both Ayer and Giard have been a longtime advocates of socialized health care. Ayer is chairwoman of the Vermont Senate Health and Welfare Committee. She has been instrumental in supporting Gov. Peter Shumlin's drive to create universal health care in the state.

Unlike the critics of H.202, Giard said he doesn't believe physicians will move out of state once universal health care is in place.

The Senate vote is the start of a long legislative process that may not see the final bill in place, as law, until 2015. During that time, there will be both national and state elections.

Republican critics in Montpelier claim Vermont is incapable of funding universal health care without raising taxes significantly; such increases, most GOP lawmakers claim, will negatively impact Vermonters in a variety of ways.

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