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The Quiet Ones: 12 Leaders Who Get Things Done

While right-wing Republicans gridlock Washington, a dozen leaders are demonstrating just how effective government can be
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peter shumlin
Tom Williams/Roll Call

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Peter Shumlin
Governor, Vermont

What He's Done Shumlin received national attention for his speedy response to Hurricane Irene, getting hundreds of miles of roads repaired within a few months at lower-than-estimated cost. But his more lasting accomplishment was succeeding where Obama failed: pushing through health care reform that is truly comprehensive. Last May, Shumlin signed the nation's first single-payer, universal health care legislation, which will cut medical costs by slashing administrative waste, ending duplicate procedures and paying health providers for good outcomes, not the volume of care. A long dance with federal regulators will be required; full implementation of "Green Mountain Care" will have to wait until 2014 at the earliest. But Shumlin tells his state's 197,000 underinsured residents that the program will be worth the wait, ensuring that the state's health care dollars will be spent to keep "Vermonters healthy – not on insurance-company profits."

Admirers Say "He put a lot of political capital into a very ambitious undertaking that could become a model for the rest of the country," says ex-governor Howard Dean.

Enemies Say His "single-payer system could very well be the biggest job-killer in Vermont's history," according to Darcie Johnston, head of the industry front group Vermonters for Health Care Freedom.

Gives Us Pause The governor and state legislature must still design, finance and implement Green Mountain Care. "The really heavy lifting is ahead of us," Dean warns.

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