(Host) Should the state of Vermont impose a tax assessment on companies that don’t provide health insurance to their employees? It’s a question that clearly divides members of the state’s business community.
Speaking last night on VPR’s Switchboard program, Larry Sudbay of the Vermont Business Roundtable, said this kind of mandate would hurt the state’s business climate and result in a loss of jobs.
(Sudbay) “Right now Vermont is at a severe tipping point and I think every Vermonter should really ask for all the research and data on some type of universal coverage plan because it clearly may not be this panacea of care that is being proposed.”
(Host) But Don Mayer of Vermont Businesses for Social Responsibility, argued that this kind of system will have a positive impact on the business community.
(Mayer) “VBSR view the health care crisis as an economic development issue for our state. Very clearly we feel that solving this problem will help the economy. It will create jobs. It will encourage our Vermont businesses to thrive. It will encourage other businesses to create jobs here and locate here.”
(Host) Duane Marsh of the Vermont Chamber of Commerce opposes any kind of business mandate and Marsh is urging lawmakers to move slowly on health care reform.
(Marsh) “My major fear is that we develop this into such a crisis that we move too hastily and make some mistakes that are going to harm us as we go down into the future. And I think that is kind of what has been laid out in front of us – that it’s such a serious crisis that we’ve got to move today, we’ve got to move now. And I don’t believe that that is true.”
(Host) A special Legislative commission on Health Care Reform will begin its work later this week. One of the major challenges facing the panel is to study how various health care proposals will impact the state’s business community.