HEALTH CARE REFORM
Navigating the sea of health care options and costs can be confusing waters for businesses, and represents a significant cost to the bottom line. The Vermont Legislature is currently working on implementing a health care exchange required by the federal health care reform law -- the Affordable Care Act (ACA).
The majority of Chamber members are small businesses that could be required to buy health insurance for themselves and their employees in the Exchange. We feel the transition to purchasing health insurance through the Exchange should be easy and seamless for Vermont’s businesses. Every effort should be made to keep insurance rates within the Exchange as affordable as possible for Vermont’s businesses. Administrative burdens on businesses should decrease, not increase, once the Exchange is operational. Smaller, incremental changes should be implemented that allow for adjustment as we learn more.
The Legislature passed Act 48 in 2011 which puts Vermont on a trajectory to implement universal health care by 2017. Our members support changes to our health care system that make health care affordable, creates a sustainable increase trajectory and maintains quality standards. However, members have indicated concern that the uncertainty created by wholesale changes to Vermont’s health care system might well negatively impact new job creation and slow Vermont’s recovery from the national economic recession.
Given the size and diversity of our membership, we believe the following principles reflect the position of the vast majority of our 2500 members.
- Assure that Vermont business leaders are engaged in an effort to model and plan for the design, financing, payment system and all financial impacts of any move to a Vermont-based health care system
- Imbed ongoing cost containment measures as the focus of any plan
- Include a sustainable financing plan that does not put Vermont employers at a competitive disadvantage or create a one-off system that discourages business from locating here
- Not add to the financial burden of payers including both employers and employees
- Include more than one option for employers that will be required to purchase through the exchange
- Ensure that multi-state and self-insured employers can continue their health care benefits unchanged or choose to participate partially or fully in any new program
- Focus on wellness, technology and streamlining systems as an integral part of any system redesign and reward employers and through lower costs as their wellness systems demonstrate savings.
Background on the 2012 Health Care Reform Bill
Recommendations on Implementing the Health Care Exchange
VICTORIES AND UPDATES:
In February of 2012, Governor Shumlin, Speaker Shap Smith and Senate President Pro Tem announced that they supported our position to limit the health insurance exchange to employers with fewer than 50 employees and to offer a bronze level plan on the exchange. This decision allows the Exchange to move forward incrementally while maintaining a more affordable option for coverage for our member businesses and their employees.
Want More? Contact us! You can always reach our Government Affairs Team with questions or concerns. Dawn Francis or Cathy Davis.