Shumlin Says Health Care Plan Will Reduce Business Costs

07/16/12 7:34AM By Bob Kinzel
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Governor Peter Shumlin says he wants his plan to finance a single payer health care system to significantly reduce the amount of money that businesses pay for health insurance.

And the Governor wants to implement his plan a year sooner than he's previously announced.

Although the Governor isn't required to submit a single payer financing plan to the Legislature until January of 2013, he's beginning to discuss the general outline of the proposal.

Currently, health insurance expenses represent between 10 and 12 percent of the total payroll of many businesses. Shumlin says this figure is not sustainable.

"My own view is that the current system that requires employers to pay 10, 11 or 12 percent payroll to cover rising cost of health insurance is too high for business."

Shumlin says he wants to supplement his financing plan with other funding sources so that he can significantly reduce the burden on employers.

"So that it's not sitting on the backs of businesses who then are unable to invest in technology in new hires, in research and development, all the things that American and Vermont businesses should be doing to grow jobs for the future.," said Shumlin. "We are going to lose the jobs battle if we continue to have this competitive disadvantage in Vermont and America where our health care spending is rising so fast that business can't invest in other forms of growing their enterprise."

How will individuals pay their share of the health care plan? The Governor says income should be an important consideration. "There's no question that ability to pay has to factor in to any financing scheme."

It's believed that the earliest that Vermont can implement a single payer system under the Affordable Care Act is 2017.  But Shumlin says he wants to find a way to do it sooner.

"I want to see it implemented by 2016. If it's sooner that's better for all of us. We'll grow jobs we'll grow economic opportunities," said Shumlin. "There's got to be a Vermont way to find a way around those obstacles. We can outsmart the feds."

Shumlin says he wants to design a financing plan that will also encourage large self insured businesses in Vermont to join the state's new health care system.

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