Fund­ing sin­gle payer

As Ver­mont paves way to re­form, hur­dles re­main

Modern Healthcare - - The Week In Healthcare - Jaimy Lee

Ver­mont is of­fi­cially on a path to­ward cre­at­ing the nation’s first statewide pub­licly funded sin­gle-payer sys­tem. Last week, Gov. Peter Shum­lin signed the widely watched leg­is­la­tion, which still faces a num­ber of chal­lenges, in­clud­ing whether the fed­eral gov­ern­ment will grant waivers Ver­mont needs to im­ple­ment a sin­gle-payer sys­tem ear­lier than 2017, and how the sys­tem—called Green Moun­tain Care—will be funded (May 16, p. 6).

“My ad­min­is­tra­tion has to come up with a plan to pay for it,” Shum­lin said in an in­ter­view.

Also at is­sue is the state health in­surance ex­change that Ver­mont is ex­pected to of­fer in 2014 as a re­sult of the Pa­tient Pro­tec­tion and Affordable Care Act.

Shum­lin, a Demo­crat, said his ad­min­is­tra­tion views the fed­eral health­care law “as a bridge” that will al­low the state to achieve cost con­tain­ment in billing, elec­tronic med­i­cal records and shift­ing the fee-forser­vice sys­tem to one that re­wards out­comes.

“The fed­eral bill gives us the abil­ity to in­vest in the tech­nol­ogy for our providers,” Shum­lin said. “The fed­eral bill is a part­ner to us in get­ting this done.”

Fed­eral fund­ing could be used to in­vest in in­fra­struc­ture and tech­nol­ogy that would en­sure more efficient billing meth­ods and a Green Moun­tain Care card that pro­vides ac­cess to the res­i­dent’s elec­tronic health record, he said, adding that preven­tive care is an­other area in which the state can achieve sav­ings.

In the mean­time, the soon-to-be ap­pointed five-mem­ber panel will ham­mer out the sys­tem’s de­tails, in­clud­ing fi­nanc­ing. Two fi­nanc­ing plans are slated to be sent to state House and Se­nate com­mit­tees in 2013.

The Ver­mont As­so­ci­a­tion of Hos­pi­tals and Health Sys­tems and the Ver­mont Med­i­cal So­ci­ety have re­mained neu­tral on the

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