House Approves Plan To Create Health Exchanges For Insurance

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(Host) After two full days of debate, the House has approved legislation that would change how many Vermonters get their health care coverage beginning in 2014.

House members considered and rejected more than a dozen amendments before voting 88-to-38 in favor. The vote was largely along party lines. Most Democrats voted for it, most Republicans voted against it.

The legislation would create a new consumer marketplace exchange where individuals and all small businesses would be required to purchase their policies.

Federal subsidies will be available for individuals with incomes less than $45,000 a year, and for households with incomes of less than $92,000.

Newfane Representative Richard Marek says the bill is an important step toward improving access to health care affordable in Vermont:

(Marek) "There always will be those who question every step for change. Fortunately today optimism triumphed over fear."

(Host) But Vernon Representative Michael Hebert says the measure would reduce health care options for many small businesses:

(Hebert) "House 559 asks that we blindly place our faith and trust in the government and trust the government to take care of us."

(Host) The measure now goes to the Senate for its consideration.

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