5-22-15 – Shumlin Still Wants to Get His Hands On Medicare

by Rob Roper

In the 2014 election, whether or not the governor and a majority of legislators in Montpelier had designs on taking control of Medicare funding as part of heathcare “reform” in Vermont became a major issue. Language in Act 48 indicated that this was one of the goals of that law:

“To the maximum extent allowable under federal law and waivers from federal law, Green Mountain Care shall include health coverage provided under the health benefit exchange established under 33 V.S.A. chapter 18, subchapter 1; under Medicaid; under Medicare;…” [emphasis added]

Reacting to intense pushback from senior citizens, most politicians (and many in the press) emphatically denied that Montpelier would or even could take control of Medicare funds. They accused individuals and organizations (such as the Ethan Allen Institute) of employing “scare tactics” for bringing it up, and pointed to legislation passed on the last day of the 2014 session removing some of the Medicare language from Act 48 as evidence of their intention to leave Medicare alone.

But today we learn that the Administration will be, in fact, applying for an “all payer waiver” from the federal government. As an article in the Rutland Herald reports:

State officials say if Vermont obtains the waiver from the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, or CMS, all insurance plans will pay the same amount and providers will have an incentive to work collectively to have the best health outcome that is not paid for based on the number of tests and procedures performed.

Maryland is the only state operating under an all-payer waiver and has been doing so since the late 1970s. But Maryland’s system only sets Medicaid rates for hospitals. 

In Vermont, the goal is to take it further and include primary care providers and specialists as well as hospitals.

“What we’re talking about in Vermont is doing it with everybody, including Medicare, which is, of course, where the bulk of our money is,” Shumlin said. [Emphasis added]

So, having completely fouled up the way we pay for health insurance with the Vermont Health Connect exchange, our government in Montpelier now wants to completely restructure how we pay for health care – including Medicare. What could go wrong?!

On April 30, Reps. Mary Morrissey (R-Bennington) and Cynthia Browning (D-Arlington) offered legislation that would have removed all references to Medicare from Act 48, placing a significant roadblock in the path of Shumlin’s applying for this waiver. It failed 54-85, with many of the loudest 2014 election-eve, “Who-us?”, “Scare tactics!” screamers voting to block the amendment. If you’d like to see how your legislator voted when it came to protecting Medicare funds from Green Mountain Care, check out the EAI Roll Call Report.

– Rob Roper is president of the Ethan Allen Institute

{ 2 comments… read them below or add one }

Ray Fotion May 22, 2015 at 9:50 pm

Shumlin and the SPENDOCRATS in MONTPECU__LIAR are on a mission to control ALL phases of our lives. It would NOT surprise me to see a COMMUNIST flag being flown from the Golden dome of the BIGGEST WHORE HOUSE in Vermont. I say this because because the inhabitants therin will screw us all with their tax and spend pograms. AND MAKE US pay them as they screw us!!!!! Ray Fotion

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Pete Gummere May 23, 2015 at 2:05 am

Is it too harsh to suggest that Mr Shumlin is a unique species of Ophidian?

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