by Angela Chagnon
The Senate version of the healthcare bill, S.57, was unanimously voted out of the Health and Welfare Committee Wednesday.
Asked to explain his vote, Senator Kevin Mullen (R-Rutland) replied that he had only voted for it after his proposed amendment was placed in the bill. The amendment added a section that would not allow Green Mountain Care to be implemented until several conditions are met:
1) Each Vermont resident covered by Green Mountain Care (GMC) will receive benefits with an actuarial value of 80% or greater.
2) Implementation of GMC will not have a negative aggregate impact on Vermont’s economy.
3) The financing for GMC is fair, equitable, and sustainable.
4) Administrative expenses will be reduced.
5) Cost-containment efforts will result in a reduction in Vermont’s per-capita health care spending below the rate of growth in per-capita healthcare spending nationally, adjusted to account for demographic differences.
6) Health care professionals will be reimbursed at levels sufficient to allow Vermont to recruit and retain high-quality health care professionals.
The amendment can be found on page 72 of the 135-page bill. The added amendment means that the bill must pass through the House again before going on to a final vote in the Senate.
Rep. Jim Eckhardt (R-Chittenden), a member of the House Healthcare Committee, said that Republicans had tried to add the amendment earlier but the Democrats “would have none of it.”