At least one roadblock stands in the way of Vermont’s path toward becoming the first state to adopt a single-payer health care system: coverage for illegal immigrants.
The state Senate, which passed its version of the bill this week, added a last-minute provision that would bar illegal immigrants from being covered under a state-run insurance program the bill envisions setting up called Green Mountain Care.
The lobbying effort in Vermont has angered senators who say they supported the amendment merely to clarify something they thought was in the bill already. They add that the special federal permissions — or waivers — Vermont needs to implement the health care law won’t be forthcoming if the state does not follow the federal lead in excluding illegal immigrants.
“We wouldn’t provide membership in Green Mountain Care to someone from Iowa who was here temporarily, so why would we do so for someone here illegally, who by definition is here temporarily?” asked Sen. Randy Brock, R-Franklin, one of the amendment’s sponsors.