Small Business: Why is Vermont Rushing Ahead with an Unworkable Health Exchange when even the Feds are pumping the Brakes?

Press Release

NFIB says technical failures are only part of the problem and that Vermont should slow down

Montpelier, Vt. – Fixing the technical problems that plague Green Mountain Care will simply make it easier for Vermonters to enroll in a system that may cost them more, creates uncertainty and potential for job losses, said the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) today.

“The technical problems are obviously embarrassing and highly discomforting, but that’s beside the point,” said Shawn Shouldice, who serves as NFIB/VT’s State Director. “Premiums are rising and employers are paralyzed because the program is changing behaviors in the marketplace. Vermont should take a few steps back and reconsider the consequences.”

Shouldice noted that the Obama administration is expected this week to announce another delay in the health care law that would allow Americans to keep plans that are scheduled to be banned this year. The move is widely seen as an acknowledgement by the administration that the Affordable Care Act will trigger another wave of unpopular cancellations right before the 2014 elections.

“It’s a cynical political move but at least they admit that the law is causing unwarranted dislocations in the insurance and labor markets,” said Shouldice. “There are plenty of reasons to believe that Vermont’s reform measures are causing uncertainty and we should give employers, individuals, regulators and lawmakers more time to adjust.”

Unlike the federal program, which even the President admits has had unanticipated consequences, Vermont’s exchange funding source, the employer assessment, is said to be insufficient. That, said Shouldice, makes employers nervous.

“The Governor has talked about a 15 percent payroll tax on employees and small employers, including small businesses that could never afford to provide insurance to their workers,” said Shouldice. “That’s going to be a massive new cost for them and no one in Montpelier, including the Governor, has focused on how that will affect jobs and the economy in this state.”

Shouldice has called on the Governor to show how costs will be saved, after all that was their basis for reform in the first place.

“When you start a new business or undertake a new project, the very first thing you determine is your market, the amount your consumers are able to pay for the product your selling and then determine if you can provide it at an affordable price,” said Shouldice. “Governor Shumlin decided to save that part for last, which is bewildering.”

For more information about NFIB, please visit www.nfib.com.