After two years of preparing to tackle health care reform, the Shumlin administration is losing its most important player, Anya Rader Wallack, the
chair of Green Mountain Care Board. Her departure will change the effort, but won’t derail it.
One of the country’s top medical journals is touting Vermont’s health care reform effort as an example for the
rest of the nation. A study published this week in the New England Journal of Medicine says other
states can learn some lessons from Vermont in rolling out health exchanges that are essential to
the federal Affordable Care Act.
Vermont became the first state on Monday to publish the rates
it would charge people who don’t currently have health insurance to get
coverage – a key step toward establishing the health exchanges that are central
to the federal health care law known as Obamacare. Health
officials said Monday the rates are comparable to current commercial rates.
Newly elected Adjutant General Steven Cray discusses issues affecting the National Guard, VPR’s Hamilton Davis analyzes Vermont’s
efforts to establish a health care exchange and we listen back to the voices in the news.
According to a new report, private health insurance
premiums are increasing, on average, by roughly 7 percent this year and state
officials say it’s unlikely that this rate will go down unless comprehensive
payment reform plans are put into place.
The Green Mountain Care Board has now completed its approval process for
the coming year’s budgets for Vermont’s
14 hospitals. It was the board’s first effort and marked the third iteration in
the state’s effort to regulate health care costs. The first was the Hospital
Data Council that ran through the 1980s and early 1990s; that morphed into
BISHCA, which first got the power to set budgets in the mid-1990s; and now the
Green Mountain Care Board, which has the same powers as BISHCA, but should have
far greater weight than its predecessor.
Green Mountain Care Board has capped overall hospital spending for next year at 3.75 percent. But the decision does
allow for higher spending if the money is targeted at specific cost saving
Vermont’s doctors have formed a new organization to allow them to
take an active role in forming a new state health care system in the
coming years. The new organization is needed to comply with federal anti-trust laws.