Vermont is in the process of creating one of the largest nanny state pieces of legislation we have ever seen. The House recently passed HB 202 by a margin 92 – 49. This bill, which will be voted on by the Senate within the next two to three weeks (SB 57), creates a single-payer health care system in Vermont.
The bill states that “health care costs must be contained” and that it will tie heath care cost growth with that of the economy – health care cost growth currently outpaces economic growth. If the system fails to stay within budget it would mandate one of three things, or any combination thereof could happen. The first possibility (guarantee) is an increase in revenue via taxes for Green Mountain Care (the “universal health care program that will provide health care benefits through a single payment system”). The second is a decrease in payments from Green Mountain Care to providers. The last option would be a decrease (rationing) in services provided.
The administration of the plan is even more frightening. The Green Mountain Board will be composed of five people who will be appointed and serve six year terms. This board will determine how the healthcare plan works. The door will be left open for potential rationing of services but it also removes the public from democratically influencing how the system / industry will be run.
This new board would work independently of the legislature to “set a global, or total, health care budget for the state, and it would review all hospital budgets and private health insurance premiums. It would also be responsible for implementing new cost containment strategies and designing a new payment system to replace the current "fee for service" system.”
According to Senator Claire Ayer, chairwoman of the Senate Health committee, it is a good thing the panel is independent and not beholden to anyone. She said that she “want(s) them to be independent so that they can make the hard decisions: ‘Yes we’re paying for this. No, we’re not paying for that.’”
While the bill has not explicitly address the funding for this new program, according to the Manager of Government Programs at IBM, John O’Kane, “all discussion to date has focused on a payroll tax on employers and employees.” O’Kane continued to state that “the imposition of employer payroll taxes, or assessments of any type that produce incremental costs or cost shifts to employers will compromise our competitiveness.”
This bill will essentially create one on the most destructive and controlling programs we have ever seen. It creates the possibility for the government and/or the Green Mountain Board to increase taxes, ration services, mandate a purchase, and decrease the competitiveness of its firms – all of which would negatively impact the economy.
To join the fight against HB 202 and SB 57 go to www.vthealthcarefreedom.com