For the Week Ending February 8, 2013
The Governor’s original plan for $10.3 million in additional state subsidies relied on a plan to successfully receive a waiver to allow additional federal matching funds for the proposed supplemental state subsidies. The administration is revising its budget recommendation to $7 million to help lower-income Vermonters with premium payments and to lower their potential out-of-pocket costs for the services they use. The administration’s new proposal calls for a slight reduction (from 1.5 to 1 percent) in the proposed additional state premium tax credit as well as less out-of-pocket cost sharing including limiting state cost sharing assistance to those below 300 percent of FPL.
Many lawmakers and advocates felt the Governor’s original proposal fell short of holding lower income Catamount and VHAP enrollees harmless from the financial impact of moving to the exchange. Even less enthusiastic about the news from Washington and the prospect of more uninsured Vermonters when the exchange becomes operational in 2014, these members may see new sources of revenue such as a proposed tax on sugar sweetened beverages as a way to restore those subsidies.
In other activity last week, the House Health Care Committee heard additional testimony about the 2014 budget proposal from the commissioner of the department of Vermont health access and stakeholders with an interest in the exchange provisions in the budget, including the state chamber of commerce , VPIRG and the Vermont grocers association. The administration also led a discussion about the health benefits plan designs that will be options on the purchasing exchange. The committee intends to issue its recommendations on the budget proposal to the appropriations committee this week.
New Bills of Interest:
H.203 Introduced by Representative Botzow of Pownal
This bill proposes to make various amendments to the laws governing entities and matters within the jurisdiction of the department of financial regulation.
H.224 Introduced by Representative Ram of Burlington and others
This bill proposes to require the Green Mountain Care Board to include acupuncture as a covered service in Green Mountain Care.
H.237 Introduced by Representatives Haas of Rochester and Frank of Underhill
This bill proposes to implement the recommendations in the 2013 report of the Palliative and Pain Management Task Force.
H.251 Introduced by Representative Canfield of Fair Haven
This bill proposes to require health insurers to provide coverage for expenses related to bone marrow testing.
H.252 Introduced by Representative Canfield of Fair Haven and others
This bill proposes to require hospitals and long-term care facilities to communicate discharge prescriptions and a discharge medication summary directly to the pharmacy of the patient’s choice.
S.79 Introduced by Senator Fox of Chittenden District
This bill proposes to create an office of health care consumer protection to represent the interests of the public in matters relating to health care, including health insurers, health insurance plans, public health benefit programs, and the activities of the Green Mountain Care Board.
S.88 Introduced by Senator Lyon and others
This bill proposes to remove a requirement that telemedicine services be delivered in a health care facility in order to qualify for health insurance coverage.
If you are interested in this week’s Legislative Committee Meeting schedules, agendas, and a listing of other meetings and activities, please visit the Vermont Legislature’s website at http://www.leg.state.vt.us/Committee01.cfm Committee meetings are normally updated daily, and are subject to change without notice. If you plan on attending, you may want to call ahead to verify the agenda.
For more information on legislative proposals, visit the Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont website at www.bcbsvt.com or call Leigh Tofferi at (802) 223-6131 or Kathy Parry at (802) 371-3205. If you wish to discontinue receiving these updates or know of anyone else who would like to receive it, please call Kathy Parry or send an e-mail to email@example.com