Medicare

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Sanders to seek Medicare for all plan

MONTPELIER — Sen. Bernie Sanders is preparing to introduce legislation that would create a Medicare for all health system in the U.S. as Republicans in Congress continue efforts to dismantle the federal Affordable Care Act. Sanders, an independent and a former candidate for the Democratic Party’s presidential nomination, has been a longtime advocate for a single-payer health care system. He has been a staunch opponent of the health care legislation being crafted by Republican senators that the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office says could cause 22 million Americans to lose health coverage over the next decade. The GOP health plan seeks to eliminate taxes on the wealthy and medical companies that help pay for the health insurance of lowincome Americans. It would also drastically reduce spending on Medicaid, a state-federal program that provides health coverage to low-income and disabled Americans. Continue Reading →

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State, feds reach deal on all-payer model

MONTPELIER — Vermont has reached a deal with the federal government to move forward with a plan to overhaul the way health care is paid for in Vermont by basing payments to providers on the quality of health outcomes rather than the volume of services they provide, Gov. Peter Shumlin announced Wednesday. Shumlin, a Democrat whose tenure in office will end in January after three terms, has been seeking the transformational shift in the state’s health care payment system for more than two years. Negotiations with the federal government have resulted in a draft agreement that will now be presented to the public for review before the state and federal government sign off on it. “We have now a draft agreement from the federal government that will allow us to take on a challenge that I believe effects the pocketbooks of every single Vermonter,” Shumlin told reporters at a news conference Wednesday. “This is probably the single thing that hurts Vermonters the most economically. Continue Reading →

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Story + Podcast: Shumlin narrows focus in final months

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Listen: Capital Beat Podcast with Gov. Peter Shumlin

MONTPELIER — With just three months left in office, Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin says he plans to push hard to complete a handful of projects before his successor is sworn into office in early January — including an overhaul of how the state pays for health care services. Shumlin, who is not seeking re-election after his third term expires, reflected in an interview about his time in office and pledged to continue his work until his final day as governor. “This is the best job that anyone can ask for, being governor of Vermont. It’s been an extraordinary privilege. One thing that governors do every day is focus on what they were elected to do, which is to grow prosperity, grow jobs, make sure our state remains the best place to live and work and raise a family. Continue Reading →

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Trailing Bernie: Sanders surges again, as Clinton steps up attacks

ew polling in the Democratic Party’s presidential primary shows Sen. Bernie Sanders leading rival Hillary Clinton in both Iowa and New Hampshire, prompting Clinton to step up her attacks. A Quinnipiac poll released Tuesday shows Sanders, the 74-year-old self-described democratic socialist, with a 49 percent to 44 percent edge over the former secretary of state and first lady among likely Democratic caucus-goers. It’s the first time Sanders has had a lead over Clinton in the poll. The same poll on Dec. 15 gave Clinton a 51 percent to 40 percent lead. Continue Reading →

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House lawmakers get refresher course on the all-payer model

MONTPELIER — A group of lawmakers in the House were given a refresher course Wednesday on the state’s efforts to reform the state’s health care payment system, and were assured that Medicare benefits will not be changed as part of that process. Green Mountain Care Board Chairman Al Gobeille walked the House Committees on Health Care and Human Services through the efforts to nix the current fee-for-service model in favor of an all-payer model. The Shumlin administration is working with the GMCB, the state’s health care regulatory body, to negotiate terms with the federal government on what the new model will look like. Under the current system, health care providers are paid for each medical service they provide. That means doctors are incentivized to order more tests and procedures in order to get paid more. Continue Reading →

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Shumlin admin to offer all-payer waiver request by end of June

MONTPELIER — Gov. Peter Shumlin says the state’s preliminary application for an all-payer waiver to level reimbursements to health care providers among all payers will be submitted by the end of June. A universal, publicly-financed health care system is off the table. And Shumlin’s grand plan to pump additional funds into Medicaid through a $90 million payroll tax was ignored by lawmakers. But the administration has been making steady progress on another major reform in health care — changing the payment structure. An all-payer waiver will allow the state to move forward with an ambitious plan to eliminate the current fee-for-service payment model that pays providers for each procedure and replace it with a system that pays providers on the quality of care they provide and the health outcomes of their patients. Continue Reading →

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