Healthcare Bill Passes Out of Senate Committee on Unanimous Vote

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.”