Government & Politics

The political ascendance of Peter Shumlin has come thanks in part to support from the Progressive Party. But the Democratic governor’s decision to shelve single-payer health care last week could shatter that alliance.

Audio from this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. Tuesday, Dec. 23.

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Marijuana legalization advocates have been laying the groundwork for a big legislative push in 2015. But Vermont lawmakers don’t seem inclined to follow in the footsteps of Washington and Colorado any time soon.

Earlier this year, Burlington lawyer Carl Lisman quietly registered a rather noteworthy trade name. It’s called “Vermont Cannabis,” and its purpose, according to the paperwork filed at the corporations division at the Vermont Secretary of State, is the “promotion of cannabis products.”

Some organizations who support Gov. Peter Shumlin's decision to back away from single-payer health care say there are other health care reform efforts that could have a positive impact on medical costs. 

Tom Torti, president and CEO of the Lake Champlain Regional Chamber of Commerce, is one of those watching the health care reform efforts closely. As part of the governor's business advisory council, Torti said he has seen various scenarios for how to fund single payer and was worried about the price tag.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Gov. Peter Shumlin’s decision to abandon his plan for single-payer health care has spurred feelings of relief, anger, surprise and confusion. And the political bombshell has everyone trying to figure out what’s next for health care reform.

About 60 protestors made their way down Main Street in Montpelier on Thursday, carrying cardboard effigies of the same Democratic governor they worked to elect not so long ago.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

A new report on the Department for Children and Families sheds light on the major difficulties the department has faced in handling the opiate crisis Gov. Peter Shumlin brought to the fore in January.

The report suggests, and officials confirm, that DCF was caught off-guard by just how much opiate abuse and addiction would affect the department's work.

Deputy DCF commissioner Cindy Walcott doesn't dance around it: The agency wasn't ready for the dramatic impact drugs would have on child safety work.

Angela Evancie / VPR

The prospect of single-payer health care in Vermont is no more, at least for now.

Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Wednesday that he is backing away from his signature policy push that would have made Vermont the first state in the nation with a publicly financed health care system overseen by state government. The governor now says that the taxes required to pay for such a system would simply be too much for Vermont to bear.

Gov. Shumlin came to the VPR studios to talk with host Alex Keefe about his decision and what comes next.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

Vermonters are reacting to the news that Governor Peter Shumlin won't move forward with the implementation of a single payer health care system.

Doctor Deb Richter, the chair of Vermont Health Care for All, said she's disappointed by the governor's decision, but said it could lead to an opportunity to do things in a different way, noting she has advocated for incremental reform.
 

Jill Zuckman / AP

Sen. Patrick Leahy was present when American contractor Alan Gross was released from a prison in Cuba Wednesday after being held there for five years. The release came as President Obama announced plans to normalize diplomatic relations with Cuba.

The State Board of Education is urging lawmakers to avoid “regressive tax reform” when they consider ways to change the way education is funded in Vermont.

By a unanimous vote Tuesday, the board approved a legislative agenda that calls for “limiting new educational legislative action, so that our scarce resources can be focused on fully and properly implementing recently passed laws.”

Taylor Dobbs / VPR File Photo

Gov. Peter Shumlin has abandoned his plan to institute a single-payer health system in Vermont.

The shocking policy reversal comes just six weeks after an election in which Shumlin had vowed, in unequivocal terms, to make Vermont the first state in the country with a publicly financed health care system.

Read Shumlin's prepared remarks from the news conference.

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