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YCQM: April 7, 2013 - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

YCQM: April 7, 2013

Posted: Updated:
BURLINGTON, Vt. -

FROM VERMONT'S MOST TRUSTED NEWS SOURCE, WCAX BRINGS YOU YOUR NEWSMAKERS, YOUR NEIGHBORS, THIS IS "YOU CAN QUOTE ME." Captioning provided by Caption Associates, LLC captionassociates.com

>>> GOOD SUNDAY MORNING TO YOU, I'M ANSON TEBBETTS. WE ARE TALKING HEALTHCARE. A BIG INITIATIVE LAUNCHED TODAY THIS WEEK BY THE SHUMLIN ADMINISTRATION, TALKING ABOUT THE FUTURE AND WHAT IT MIGHT MEAN TO INSURANCE RATES IN THE STATE OF VERMONT. JOINING US IS ROBIN LUNGE, HEAD OF HEALTHCARE REFORM FOR THE STATE. GOOD MORNING.

>> GOOD MORNING.

>> JOINING US IN THE QUESTIONING IS STEVE BOTTARI. GOOD MORNING.

>> GOOD MORNING, ANSON. ROBIN, LET'S START FIRST. SO MANY CHANGES HAPPENING, BOTH AT THE STATE LEVEL AND FEDERAL LEVEL WHEN IT COMES TO HEALTHCARE. CAN YOU EXPLAIN TO US WHAT THE EXCHANGE IS AND WHO WILL BE IN IS IT?

>> ABSOLUTELY. STARTING THIS OCTOBER, OCTOBER 1ST, THERE WILL BE AN ONLINE MARKETPLACE, WHERE INDIVIDUALS WHO DON'T HAVE COVERAGE FROM THEIR EMPLOYERS AND SMALL BUSINESSES CAN SHOP FOR HEALTH INSURANCE. THE EXCHANGE IS REALLY A WEBSITE, SIMILAR TO ORBITZ, EXPEDIA, FOR THOSE OF YOU WHO HAVE EVER BOOKED A PLANE TICKET ONLINE, YOU KNOW THAT THERE'S LOTS OF TOOLS THAT CAN HELP YOU DO THAT. THE EXCHANGE BRINGS THOSE SAME TYPES OF TOOLS TO HEALTH INSURANCE. SO THAT YOU CAN REALLY COMPARE APPLES TO APPLES ACROSS INSURERS AND ACROSS PLANS.

>> HOW MANY COMPANIES WOULD BE IN THAT? YOU KNOW, WITH ORBITZ, EXPEDIA, YOU HAVE MULTIPLE CHOICES. ARE YOU GOING TO HAVE A LOT OF CHOICES?

>> SO IN VERMONT, WE HAVE TWO INSURANCE COMPANIES CURRENT CANNILY WHO PROVIDE THESE TYPES OF -- CURRENTLY PROVIDE THESE TYPES OF PLANS. THOSE SAME TWO COMPANIES HAVE ASKED TO BE ON THE EXCHANGE, BLUE CROSS AND MVP. IN ADDITION WE HAVE A NEW COMPANY THAT HAS APPLIED TO BECOME AN INSURANCE COMPANY. THEY ARE CURRENTLY IN THAT PROCESS NOW.

>> THAT'S THE CO-OP THAT'S BEING PLANNED?

>> YES.

>> SO JUST TO BE CLEAR, THIS -- WE ARE NOT REALLY TALKING ABOUT VERMONT'S SINGLE PAYER PLAN.

>> NO.

>> THIS IS THE STUFF THAT'S COMING FROM WASHINGTON THAT WE'RE IN THE PIPELINE FOR.

>> ABSOLUTELY. SO THIS IS THE FEDERAL AFFORDABLE CARE ACT, OR SOME PEOPLE CALL IT OBAMACARE, THAT WAS ENACTED A COUPLE YEARS AGO. NOW IT'S STARTING UP THIS FALL.

>> SO FOR THIS PIECE OF IT, HOW MANY PEOPLE WILL BE IN THE EXCHANGE IN VERMONT?

>> SO WE'RE ESTIMATING ABOUT 100,000 PEOPLE WOULD BUY INSURANCE THROUGH THE VERMONT HEALTH CONNECTS, WHICH IS THE NAME OF OUR EXCHANGE.

>> ALSO SMALL BUSINESSES ARE A PART OF IT AS WELL?

>> YES. SO ANY BUSINESS WHO HAS 50 EMPLOYEES OR LESS CAN GO ON THE WEBSITE, SHOP FOR INSURANCE, AND THEIR EMPLOYEES CAN ALSO SIGN UP THROUGH THAT PROCESS.

>> SO HOW IS THIS BETTER OR DIFFERENT THAN WHAT WE HAVE NOW?

>> SO TODAY WE HAVE ABOUT 125 DIFFERENT INSURANCE PLANS IN THE MARKET. IF YOU WANTED TO GO AND REALLY SHOP TO SEE WHAT PLAN WAS THE BEST PLAN FOR YOU AND YOUR FAMILY, IT WOULD BE IMPOSSIBLE. YOU WOULD HAVE TO REALLY CALL A BUNCH OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE, HAVE THEM MAIL YOU INFORMATION, IT WOULD BE VERY TOUGH. WHAT THIS WILL ALLOW YOU TO DO IS REALLY SIMPLY COMPARE WHAT YOUR OPTIONS ARE, AND DETERMINE WHAT IS RIGHT FOR YOU. THERE WILL BE CONSUMER INFORMATION TO EXPLAIN HEALTH INSURANCE. I THINK A LOT OF PEOPLE DON'T NECESSARILY KNOW THE INS AND OUTS OF THEIR POLICY, SO THEY WILL BE MORE -- THERE WILL BE MORE UP FRONT INFORMATION. AND THERE WILL OF COURSE BE IN ADDITION TO THE WEBSITE, INDIVIDUALS THAT CAN SIT DOWN AND HELP YOU, OR A PLACE YOU CAN CALL TO TALK IT THROUGH ON THE PHONE, TOO.

>> AND ROBIN, THIS ROLLS OUT IN 2014 NEXT YEAR, PEOPLE START APPLYING FOR IT AS EARLY AS OCTOBER.

>> YES.

>> BUT IN 2017, THE GOAL IS TO HAVE SINGLE PAYER. IS THIS SYSTEM SIMPLY GO AWAY WHEN THAT HAPPENS?

>> SO WE'RE USING THE TECHNOLOGY FOR THIS SYSTEM TO BUILD THE FRONT END TECHNOLOGY THAT WE CAN REUSE AS SINGLE PAYERS. SO IT WILL LOOK DIFFERENT, VERY DIFFERENT IN 2017, BUT WE'RE MAXIMIZING THE REUSE OF ANYTHING THAT WE'RE SETTING UP TODAY.

>> NOW, DO PEOPLE HAVE TO PARTICIPATE IN THIS? IS THIS A MANDATE FOR PEOPLE THAT HAVE FEWER THAN 50 EMPLOYEES?

>> THE LEGISLATION DOES CONSOLIDATE THE PURCHASE OF INSURANCE THROUGH VERMONT HEALTH CONNECT, SO IF YOU WANT TO BUY INSURANCE, YOU EITHER GO TO THE WEBSITE, YOU CAN GO THROUGH A BROKER, LIKE YOU DO TODAY IF YOU'RE A SMALL BUSINESS, SO REALLY, WHAT IT DOES, IT PROVIDES A TOOL, AND AN NEW WAY FOR PEOPLE TO SHOP. THE INSURANCE PRODUCTS, HOWEVER, ARE STILL INSURANCE PRODUCTS. I THINK THAT'S ALSO AN IMPORTANT THING FOR PEOPLE TO REMEMBER, IS THAT THIS ISN'T A NEW STATE INSURANCE OR COVERAGE PROGRAM, IT'S SIMPLY A BETTER AND EASIER WAY FOR PEOPLE TO FIND INSURANCE PRODUCTS FROM BLUE CROSS AND MVP.

>> BUT THESE SMALL BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS WHO BUY THEIR INSURANCE WILL HAVE TO GO THROUGH THE SYSTEM?

>> YES.

>> AND CRITICS SAY WHY NOT, IF THE SYSTEM IS BETTER THAN WHAT'S HAPPENING NOW, WHY NOT LET IT BE VOLUNTARY.

>> VERMONT IS A VERY SMALL STATE, AND WHEN WE'RE BUILDING AN ENTIRELY NEW SYSTEM THAT WILL ORGANIZE AND MAKE THIS A MUCH SIMPLER PROCESS, IT SIMPLY MAKES SENSE FOR PEOPLE TO USE IT.

>> LET'S TALK ABOUT THE RATES. THIS WEEK YOU ANNOUNCED THE RATES. THAT'S FOR SMALL BUSINESSES, FEWER THAN 50 EMPLOYEES.

>> YEP.

>> AS WELL AS PEOPLE, JUST REGULAR PEOPLE WHO DON'T HAVE INSURANCE, RIGHT?

>> CORRECT.

>> SO THEY ARE IN THAT. WHAT WILL IT MEAN TO SOMEONE COMPARING WHAT THEY HAVE NOW, POTENTIALLY?

>> YEAH. SO WHAT WE SAW, AND IT'S IMPORTANT TO STRESS THESE ARE THE -- THIS IS THE FIRST PROPOSAL FROM THE INSURANCE COMPANY, THE RATES THAT CAME OUT ON MONDAY ARE THE FIRST STEP IN A PROCESS. SO THE INSURANCE COMPANIES FILE THESE PROPOSALS WITH THE INSURANCE DEPARTMENT, AND THE INSURANCE DEPARTMENT TAKES A CLOSE LOOK TO MAKE SURE THAT THOSE INSURANCE PREMIUMS ARE JUSTIFIED. SO WHAT WE DID WHEN WE RECEIVED THOSE FILINGS FROM THE CARRIERS IS WE COMPARED IT TO THE COMMON PLANS ON THE MARKET TODAY, AND LOOKED ACROSS THOSE 125 DIFFERENT PLANS TO SEE HOW DID IT COMPARE. THE RATES ARE REALLY QUITE COMPARABLE TO TODAY'S INSURANCE RATES. SO I THINK WHAT MOST PEOPLE WILL FIND IS THAT THERE WILL BE A PREMIUM THAT IS CLOSE TO WHAT THEY HAVE TODAY. FOR SOME PEOPLE THEY'LL FIND PREMIUMS THAT ARE LESS THAN THEY HAVE TODAY.

>> AND HOW DO YOU ACHIEVE THAT. IS THERE MONEY COMING FROM THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT TO MAKE THAT HAPPEN?

>> SO A COUPLE DIFFERENT THINGS. IF YOU'RE A SMALL BUSINESS, YOU'RE GOING TO BE SHOPPING, JUST LIKE YOU DO TODAY FOR AN INSURANCE PRODUCT. YOU WILL DECIDE, YOU, THE BUSINESS OWNER, WILL DECIDE HOW MUCH YOUR BUSINESS WILL CONTRIBUTE AND HOW MUCH THE EMPLOYEES WILL CONTRIBUTE. THAT'S HOW IT WORKS TODAY, AND THAT DOESN'T CHANGE. WHEN YOU LOOK AT THE FULL COST, THEN, OF THOSE INSURANCE PRODUCTS, THEY ARE COMPARABLE TO WHAT SMALL BUSINESSES ARE PURCHASING TODAY. FOR INDIVIDUALS WHO DON'T HAVE AN EMPLOYER PLAN AVAILABLE TO THEM, THEY WILL BE ABLE TO BUY INSURANCE THROUGH VERMONT HEALTH CONNECT, AND APPLY FOR A FEDERAL PREMIUM TAX CREDIT. THAT TAX CREDIT, THEN, ESSENTIALLY REDUCES THEIR MONTH TO MONTH COST, AND THAT TAX CREDIT IS AVAILABLE TO INDIVIDUALS WITH ABOUT $45,000 A YEAR OR LESS, OR FAMILIES OF FOUR WITH $94,000 A YEAR OR LESS. SO THERE WILL BE QUITE A FEW VERMONTERS WHO CAN ACCESS THAT.

>> SO IN EFFECT, THE BURDEN IS BEING SHIFTED FROM THE INDIVIDUAL TO THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT, BUT THE FEDERAL GOVERNMENT STILL HAS TO COME UP WITH THAT MONEY SOMEHOW.

>> YES. SO THESE ARE PREMIUM TAX CREDITS, SO IT IS A TAX CREDIT PROGRAM THAT OPERATES A LITTLE BIT DIFFERENTLY THAN MOST TAX CREDITS. TYPICALLY TODAY, IF YOU TAKE A TAX CREDIT, YOU DO IT AT THE END OF THE YEAR ON YOUR TAX FORM. THIS TAX CREDIT IS A LITTLE DIFFERENT. YOU GET IT EVERY MONTH TO MAKE THE INSURANCE MORE AFFORDABLE.

>> TALK ABOUT THE DEDUCTIBLES HERE. NOW, IS THERE A DEDUCTIBLE, AND WHAT IS THAT RATE AND WHAT HAPPENS AFTER YOU'VE MET THAT DEDUCTIBLE?

>> SURE. SO THERE ARE A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT PLANS, SO THE DEDUCTIBLES VARY. AT THE LOW END, THERE WOULD BE DEDUCTIBLES THAT ARE IN THE $500, $750 RANGE. THAT'S PRETTY LOW COMPARED TO WHAT MANY VERMONTERS HAVE TODAY. AND THERE ARE ALSO HIGH DEDUCTIBLE PLANS AVAILABLE ON THE EXCHANGE WITH DEDUCTIBLES OF ABOUT $2,000. SO THERE'S A RANGE, SO YOU WOULD BASICALLY THERE'S A TRADEOFF BETWEEN WHAT YOU PAY MONTH TO MONTH VERSUS WHAT YOU PAY WHEN YOU USE THE INSURANCE. IF YOU WANT A LOWER DEDUCTIBLE, YOU CAN PAY A HIGHER PREMIUM TO HAVE THOSE COSTS BE LESS WHEN YOU GO TO THE DOCTOR. THE WAY THE DEDUCTIBLE WORKS IS THAT CERTAIN TYPES OF SERVICES, WHEN YOU GO TO THE HOSPITAL, FOR EXAMPLE, YOU FIRST PAY THE DEDUCTIBLE AND THEN THE INSURANCE KICKS IN.

>> ROBIN, WHEN THE PLANS WERE RELEASED THIS WEEK, ONE OF THE CRITICISMS WAS THAT THE EXAMPLES GIVEN DIDN'T REALLY REFLECT REALITY. FOR INSTANCE, FAMILY OF FOUR, THE EXAMPLE GIVEN WAS SOMEBODY MAKING AN INCOME OF $32,000 A YEAR. THAT WAS THE SAMPLE PLAN GIVEN. YET THE AVERAGE VERMONT FAMILY IS MAKING AROUND $66,000 A YEAR AVERAGE FOR A FAMILY OF FOUR. SO PEOPLE ARE SAYING THE NUMBERS GIVEN, WHILE THEY LOOK GREAT ON PAPER DON'T REFLECT REALITY.

>> I THINK IF YOU RUN ANY NUMBER OF SCENARIOS, YOU WILL SEE THAT THERE ARE -- THERE ARE AFFORDABLE PLANS FOR PEOPLE ACROSS MANY DIFFERENT INCOME LEVELS. WE CHOSE EXAMPLES THAT WOULD ILLUSTRATE TO FOLKS HOW THE FEDERAL PREMIUM TAX CREDIT WORKS AND HOW THE STATE TAX CREDIT WORKED, IN PART TO EDUCATE PEOPLE ABOUT THE AVAILABILITY OF THOSE CREDITS. CERTAINLY A FAMILY OF FOUR WOULD ALSO HAVE THOSE CREDITS AVAILABLE TO THEM AS WELL.

>> WHEN YOU GET INTO A SITUATION WHERE MAYBE SOMEONE HAS, YOU KNOW, A CATASTROPHIC ILLNESS, WHAT IS GOING TO BE THE SCENARIO OF THE COST-SHARING BETWEEN THE INSURANCE COMPANY AND THE PATIENT. ARE WE GOING TO GET INTO A SITUATION WHERE, YOU KNOW, 25/75, 80/20, 50/50?

>> IT WILL DEPEND ON WHICH PLAN YOU CHOOSE. SO UNDER FEDERAL LAW, ALL OF THE PLANS HAVE AN ABSOLUTE MAXIMUM OF WHAT THEY CAN CHARGE INDIVIDUALS IF THERE IS A CATASTROPHIC EVENT. THAT'S TIED TO THE HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNTS LIMITS. IF YOU HAVE A HIGH DEDUCTIBLE PLAN WITH A HEALTH SAVINGS ACCOUNT, YOU CAN PUT MONEY AWAY TOWARDS THAT TYPE OF EVENTUALITY. THE MAXIMUM AMOUNT, THEN, IS TRIGGERED IN THAT SITUATION WHERE YOU USE A LOT OF CARE.

>> SO WHAT IS THE NEXT STEP IN THIS. YOU HAVE HAD' ANNOUNCED THE RATES -- YOU'VE ANNOUNCED THE RATES. ARE THOSE THE LAW OF THE LAND NOW, OR DO YOU NEED LEGISLATION, OR IS THERE ANOTHER PROCESS?

>> YEAH. SO THE PROPOSED RALTHS BY -- ARE THE PROPOSED RATES BY THE CARRIERS. THEY WILL GO THROUGH A PROCESS BY THE INSURANCE DEPARTMENT. THE INSURANCE DEPARTMENT MAKES A RECOMMENDATION TO THE GREEN MOUNTAIN CARE BOARD, WHO HAS THE FINAL SAY OVER APPROVING, DENYING OR MODIFYING THE PREMIUMS THAT THE INSURANCE COMPANIES HAVE ASKED FOR. SO THAT PROCESS IS STARTING NOW. IT WILL RUN THROUGH EARLY SUMMER SO WE CAN EXPECT FINAL PREMIUMS TO BE PUBLISHED SOMETIME OVER THE SUMMER, PROBABLY IN JULY. WE DON'T NEED FURTHER LEGISLATION RELATING TO THE INSURANCE PRODUCTS, THAT WAS ALL PASSED A COUPLE YEARS AGO IN ACT 48. WE DO HAVE A COUPLE THINGS IN THE BUDGET THIS YEAR THAT WILL HELP SUPPORT VERMONTERS IN THE EXCHANGE, INCLUDING STATE PREMIUM ASSISTANCE.

>> HOW MUCH ARE DOCTORS INVOLVED IN THIS PROCESS? WE HAVE BEEN HEARING FROM DOCTORS, MANY ARE CONCERNED ABOUT HOW THEY WILL BE SEEING FOR PAYMENT. SOME DOCTORS SAYING THEY WILL LEAVE THE STATE. SOME ARE WORRIED ABOUT A MASS EXODUS OF PRACTITIONERS ONCE THIS IS ENACTED.

>> IT IS IMPORTANT TO REMEMBER IN THE EXCHANGE, THESE ARE PRIVATE INSURANCE PRODUCTS, SO THE STATE IS NOT CONTRACTING WITH DOCTORS OR SETTING THEIR PAY. IT IS STILL A PROCESS TODAY THAT HAPPENS BETWEEN THE INSURANCE COMPANY AND THE HEALTHCARE PROVIDER.

>> ILT STATE IS SETTING THE RATES, THOUGH, CORRECT?

>> NOT TODAY, THOUGH, NO.

>> UNDER THE EXCHANGE IS THAT HAPPENING?

>> NO. IT IS STILL A PRIVATE INSURANCE PRODUCT, SO USUALLY THE WAY THAT WORKS TODAY IS THE INSURANCE COMPANY HAS CONTRACTS WITH HOSPITALS AND HEALTHCARE PROVIDERS AND THAT'S A NEGOTIATION BETWEEN THE CARRIERS AND THE PROVIDERS, AND WHAT VERMONT HEALTH CONNECT DOES, THEY TAKE THOSE PLANS THAT THE INSURANCE COMPANIES CREATE AND BETTER -- AND THAT ARE APPROVED AND THEY OFFER THEM TO INDIVIDUALS TO SIGN UP FOR.

>> SO THERE WILL BE NO THRESHOLD SET IN TERMS OF WHAT MAY OR MAY NOT HAPPEN BETWEEN THE DOCTORS AND THE HEALTH INSURERS.

>> NOT TODAY, NO.

>> WHAT ABOUT THE ABILITY TO PROVIDE A PRIVATE AGREEMENT, MEANING IF I WAS A PATIENT, AND I WANTED TO PAY A DOCTOR OUTSIDE OF THE SYSTEM, IF INSURANCE WASN'T GOING TO BE INVOLVED AT ALL, WOULD I BE ABLE TO DO THAT ONCE THE HEALTHCARE EXCHANGE IS PUT INTO PLACE?

>> YES.

>>> HOW SHOULD SMALL BUSINESSES BE VIEWING THIS NOW, I MEAN, THIS IS, WE'RE TALKING I GUESS LESS THAN A YEAR WHEN THE EXCHANGE TAKES OFF. SMALL BUSINESSES LIKE TO PLAN, THEY LIKE PREDICTABILITY, THEY LIKE TO KNOW WHAT'S HAPPENING DOWN THE ROAD, TWO YEARS DOWN THE ROAD. I GUESS THEY SHOULD BE PAYING ATTENTION.

>> WE HOPE THEY ARE. WE ARE MOVING FORWARD WITH OUTREACH AND EDUCATION, WE HAVE BEEN DOING A NUMBER OF SMALL BUSINESS FORUMS AROUND THE STATE, PARTNERING WITH CHAMBERS OF COMMERCE TO TRY AND GET THE INFORMATION OUT TO SMALL BUSINESSES AND INDIVIDUALS. I WAS IN JOHNSON EARLIER THIS WEEK FOR AN EVENING FORUM TO TALK TO ANYONE WHO WANTED TO COME ABOUT WHAT IS GOING ON AND ANSWER QUESTIONS. SO THAT EFFORT IS MOVING FORWARD. I THINK WHAT'S MOST IMPORTANT FOR BUSINESSES TO KEEP IN MIND IS THAT THEY SHOULD LOOK FOR VERMONT HEALTH CONNECT ON OCTOBER 1ST, AND START THINKING ABOUT THEIR OPTIONS FOR JANUARY 2014. THE OTHER IMPORTANT THING TO REMEMBER IS WE'RE ACTUALLY PUSHING OUT THIS INFORMATION EARLIER THIS YEAR THAN IS TYPICAL. GENERALLY SMALL BUSINESSES GET THEIR RENEWAL NOTICES IN NOVEMBER OR DECEMBER FOR JANUARY. SO WE'RE LOOKING TO HAVE FINAL PREMIUMS IN JULY, SO THAT'S SEVERAL MONTHS EARLIER THAN TYPICAL.

>> SO LOOKS LIKE THOSE SMALL BUSINESSES ARE GOING TO BE AT MOST TWO OR THREE CHOICES.

>> AT MOST TWO OR THREE CHOICES, THAT'S ONE MORE CHOICE THAN THEY HAVE TODAY. SO TYPICALLY TODAY IN THE MARKET THEY HAVE MVP AND BLUE CROSS. SO THAT'S THE SAME, I THINK ONE THING THAT WILL BE DIFFERENT, THOUGH, IS THEY WILL HAVE A NUMBER OF DIFFERENT PLANS OFFERED BY THOSE CARRIERS. SO I THINK WHEN MOST PEOPLE ARE LOOKING FOR CHOICE, THEY ARE LOOKING FOR CHOICE OF PLANS MORE THAN CHOICE OF CARRIERS.

>> VERMONT WON'T ALLOW FOLKS FROM OUT OF STATE TO COME IN HERE, RIGHT? I MEAN --

>> WE DON'T DISALLOW IT. IT'S JUST IF YOU THINK ABOUT IT, WE ONLY HAVE ABOUT 6% OF OUR POPULATION UNINSURED. THAT'S ABOUT 40,000 PEOPLE. THE AFFORDABLE CARE ACT HAPPENS EVERYWHERE ACROSS THIS NATION. SO IF I'M IN TEXAS WHERE THERE'S 25% OF THE TEXAS POPULATION UNINSURED, I'M AN INSURANCE COMPANY, I'M HEADED TO TEXAS AND SOME OF THESE BIG STATES WHERE THERE'S A HUGE POPULATION OF PEOPLE WHO ARE GOING TO START BUYING INSURANCE. IT DOESN'T REALLY MAKE SENSE FOR AN INSURANCE COMPANY TO COME TO A PLACE WHERE EVERYBODY -- NOT EVERYBODY, BUT A LOT OF PEOPLE HAVE INSURANCE, 96% OF THE VERMONT POPULATION, AND THERE'S ONLY 40,000 PEOPLE THAT ARE COMING NEWLY INTO THE MARKETPLACE. IT IS A MUCH TOUGHER COMPETITIVE ENVIRONMENT THAN A PLACE WITH A HIGH UNINSURED RATE.

>> THIS IS COMPLICATED STUFF.

>> IT IS.

>> I MEAN, IS THAT PART OF THE ISSUE, THOUGH, CAN YOU DEVELOP A SYSTEM THAT'S SO COMPLICATED THAT MEETS EVERYONE'S NEEDS, BECAUSE EVERYONE IS -- IT IS A VERY PERSONAL DECISION ABOUT YOUR HEALTHCARE.

>> SURE.

>> CAN YOU DEVELOP A SYSTEM THAT FITS ALL, THOUGH?

>> I THINK WE ALL HAVE THE SAME HEALTH NEEDS OVER TIME, SO ALL OF US WILL FACE SOME SORT OF CHRONIC ILLNESS OR OTHER TYPE OF ILLNESS AT SOME POINT IN OUR LIFE, SO EVEN THOUGH EACH INDIVIDUAL PERSON WHAT THAT CHRONIC ILLNESS LOOKS LIKE OR WHAT THAT ACCIDENT IS, EVERYONE IS GOING TO NEED HEALTHCARE AT SOME POINT. SO I THINK WHAT'S IMPORTANT IS THAT WE MAKE SURE WE INVOLVE PEOPLE, WE INVOLVE PROVIDERS, WE INVOLVE BUSINESS TO CREATE THE SYSTEM SO THAT WE ARE LOOKING AT IT COMPREHENSIVELY FROM EVERYONE'S PERSPECTIVE.

>> ROBIN LUNGE, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

>> THANK YOU.

>> WE HAVE GOT TO LET YOU GO. YOU'VE GOT A BIG JOB AHEAD OF YOU, AND WE THANK YOU FOR JOINING US TODAY ON "YOU CAN QUOTE ME."

>> THANK YOU.

>> BEST OF LUCK TO YOU.

>> WHEN WE COME BACK, WE ARE GOING TO HAVE AN INTERVIEW WITH THE FIRST LADY. SHE WAS IN WASHINGTON WITH STUDENTS FROM MILTON, AND WE'L

>>> THIS WEEK WAS A VERY BUSY WEEK FOR A GROUP OF STUDENTS FROM MILTON. THEY VISITED THE WHITE HOUSE. THEY WERE THERE TO MEET MICHELLE OBAMA, THE FIRST LADY, AND ALSO TO PLANT A GARDEN. IT WAS PART OF THE FIRST LADY'S INITIATIVE TO GET PEOPLE MOVING AND TO GET GROWING VEGETABLES AND TRY TO LIVE A HEALTHIER LIFESTYLE.

>> AND BRIDGETT BERRY-CASWELL OF CHANNEL 3 SAT DOWN FOR AN EXCLUSIVE ONE-ON-ONE INTERVIEW, THEY TALKED ABOUT NUTRITION, FARM TO TABLE, AND ALSO THE FIRST LADY HAD A FLUB THAT WENT NATIONWIDE. HERE'S THE INTERVIEW.

>> I'M DELIGHTED TO HAVE THIS OPPORTUNITY TO TALK TO YOU TODAY ABOUT YOUR CAMPAIGN. ALL OF YOUR EFFORTS TO END CHILDHOOD OBESITY. THANK YOU.

>> THANK YOU FOR BEING HERE.

>> THIS IS A VERY BIG DEAL FOR THESE YOUNG PEOPLE, AND I'M SPEAKING, OF COURSE, SPECIFICALLY ABOUT THE CHILDREN, THE FIFTH GRADERS WHO ARE HERE FROM VERMONT. WHAT DO YOU HOPE THEY TAKE HOME FROM THIS OPPORTUNITY TO PLANT IN THE WHITE HOUSE GARDEN WITH YOU?

>> WELL, I HOPE IT JUST REINFORCES ALL THE GREAT WORK AND THINGS THAT THEY ARE DOING BACK IN THEIR STATE. I MEAN, ONE OF THE REASONS WHY WE INVITED THESE CHILDREN HERE IS BECAUSE THEY ARE DOING SOME OF THE SAME THINGS BACK IN THEIR HOMETOWNS. AND I WANT THEM TO UNDERSTAND THAT WHAT THEY ARE -- THAT THEY ARE INSPIRING THE WHITE HOUSE GARDENS, AND I WANT THEM TO GO HOME EXCITED ABOUT WHAT THEY ARE DOING, WHAT THEY ARE LEARNING, ALL THE CHANGES GOING ON BACK IN THEIR SCHOOL LUNCHES AND THE GARDENS THAT THEY ARE PLANTING, AND I WANT TO LIFT UP THE WORK THAT THEY ARE DOING WITH PARENTS AND COMMUNITIES. SO I HOPE THEY LEAVE HERE ENER SIZE -- ENERGIZED.

>> WHY TARGET YOUNG PEOPLE. IS IT ABOUT THE FUTURE? IT IS A GENERATIONAL SHIFT THAT YOU ARE WORKING TOWARDS, ISN'T IT?

>> ABSOLUTELY. I MEAN, THE TRUTH IS, IT'S HARD TO CHANGE GROWNUPS. YOU KNOW, WE'RE ENTRENCHED IN OUR HABITS, AND THAT'S FINE. BUT A LOT OF THE LEARNING THAT WE DO COMES FROM OUR KIDS. YOU KNOW, WE WILL DO FOR OUR CHILDREN WHAT WE SIMPLY CAN'T FIND THE STRENGTH TO DO FOR OURSELVES. AND I KNOW THAT EVERY PARENT IN THIS COUNTRY CARES ABOUT THE HEALTH OF THEIR KIDS, AND KIDS ARE REALLY OPEN TO CHANGE. SO, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT STARTING A GARDEN, WHEN YOU TALK ABOUT INCORPORATING VEGETABLES INTO A DIET AND EATING HEALTHY, KIDS ARE MORE INCLINED TO EMBRACE THOSE CHANGES AND THEY ARE THE CATALYST FOR CHANGE IN THEIR HOMES AND COMMUNITIES AND IN THEIR SCHOOLS AND IN THEIR CHURCHES. SO KIDS ARE REALLY SOMETIMES THE ONLY PLACE TO START.

>> ABOUT FORMING HABITS EARLY ON.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> AND THAT GETS PASSED ALONG.

>> ABSOLUTELY.

>> IN VERMONT, FARM TO TABLE INITIATIVES ARE WIDELY ENCOURAGED AND PRACTICED, BUT CERTAINLY THAT'S NOT THE CASE ACROSS MANY STATES IN THE COUNTRY. CAN YOU TALK TO ME ABOUT THE ISSUES OF ACCESS AND AFFORDABILITY? IT ALL SOUNDS GREAT.

>> UM-HUM.

>> BUT IT'S NOT THAT EASY, AND CERTAINLY THE REALITIES OF FAMILIES IN AMERICA TODAY, WHO ARE BUSY, AND THEY ARE NOT HOME EVERY NIGHT, THEY ARE AT SPORTS PRACTICES AND DIFFERENT ACTIVITIES. HOW DO YOU TACKLE THAT?

>> YEAH. WELL, ACCESS AND AFFORDABILITY IS AT THE HEART OF LET'S MOVE, BECAUSE WE KNOW WE CAN'T TELL PARENTS TO GO, YOU KNOW, ADD MORE VEGETABLES TO THEIR MEALS AND THERE'S NOT A GROCERY STORE WITHIN MILES OF WHERE THEY LIVE. SO THAT'S ONE OF THE REASONS WHY WE'VE BEEN WORKING WITH GROCERY STORE CHAINS TO GET THEM TO OPEN UP MORE STORES IN UNDERSERVED COMMUNITIES. WE HAVE BEEN LOOKING AT NEW MODELS OF GETTING FARMERS MARKETS TO, YOU KNOW, CREATE BUSES AND DRIVE INTO COMMUNITIES THAT ARE UNDERSERVED, SO WE HAVE TO DEAL WITH THE QUESTION OF ACCESS. BELIEVE ME, AS A BUSY SINGLE MOTHER -- OR I SHOULDN'T SAY SINGLE, AS A BUSY MOTHER, SOMETIMES, YOU KNOW, WHEN YOU HAVE GOT THE HUSBAND IS PRESIDENT, IT CAN FEEL SINGLE, BUT HE'S THERE. BUT AS A BUSY WORKING MOM, AND BEFORE COMING TO THE WHITE HOUSE, I WAS IN THAT POSITION, YOU KNOW, AS WELL, WORKING, DRIVING KIDS TO PRACTICE, NOT HAVING ENOUGH TIME TO SHOP OR COOK, NOT HAVING THE ENERGY, RESOURCES WEREN'T THE ISSUE, BUT TIME AND ENERGY IS KEY. THAT'S WHY WE'RE REALLY FOCUSING ON TRYING TO GET INFORMATION AND SHARING IDEAS INTO THE HANDS OF MORE PARENTS. YOU KNOW, ONE OF THE THINGS WE ARE -- HAVE DONE IS WORKED WITH PUBLISHERS OF COOKING PUBLICATIONS. THEY CREATED PINTEREST ACCOUNTS WHERE YOU CAN LINK ONTO WEBSITES WHERE YOU GET AFFORDABLE, FAST AND TASTY, HEALTHIER MEALS. YOU KNOW, SOMETIMES AS A WORKING MOM, YOU RUN OUT OF IDEAS, YOU KNOW. WE CAN DO MORE SHARING AS FAMILIES AND COMMUNITIES ABOUT WHAT IS WORKING, BECAUSE SOME FAMILIES HAVE FIGURED IT OUT, SOME COMMUNITIES HAVE, SO HOW DO WE START SHARING THOSE IDEAS SO THAT PEOPLE DON'T FEEL LIKE THEY ARE OPERATING IN ISOLATION.

>> UM-HUM.

>> SOMETIMES IT'S LONELY WHEN YOU'RE TRYING TO MAKE CHANGE IN YOUR OWN HOUSEHOLD, AND IF YOU'VE GOT SOME ALLIES OUT THERE, IT HELPS. WE WANT TO BE A CATALYST FOR CREATING THOSE ALLIES.

>> UM-HUM. IS THERE ANY INSTANT GRATIFICATION FOR YOU WITH YOUR EFFORTS? CERTAINLY WE'RE NOT GOING TO SEE SIGNIFICANT CHANGES IN CHRONIC DISEASE, HEALTHCARE SPENDING, MORTALITY. DO YOU SEE THE FRUITS OF YOUR LABOR YET?

>> I DO. I SEE IT EVERY DAY, IN THESE KIDS. I VISIT SCHOOLS EVERYWHERE I GO, AND WHENEVER I GO INTO A SCHOOL AND I SEE A SALAD BAR THAT WASN'T THERE, OR I SEE KIDS WHO CAN IDENTIFY VEGETABLES THAT THEY COULDN'T IDENTIFY BEFORE, I GO INTO SCHOOL WHERE THEY GOT KIDS DANCING AND JUMPING AROUND IN CLASSROOMS, BECAUSE THEY STARTED TO INCORPORATE PHYSICAL ACTIVITY INTO THE CLASSROOM. YOU KNOW, THOSE ARE THE KIND OF INSTANT MOMENTS OF GRATIFICATION THAT, YOU KNOW, JUST REMINDS ME THIS IS IS A LONG-TERM GOAL. WE CAN GET TIRED BECAUSE IT'S HARD, OR THAT THERE'S SOME BUMPS ALONG THE WAY, YOU KNOW, THAT OUR KIDS DESERVE US WORKING HARD EVERY SINGLE DAY TO TRY TO MAKE SURE WE GIVE THEM THE HEALTHIEST FUTURE THAT WE CAN.

>> I COULDN'T AGREE WITH YOU MORE. ON A PERSONAL NOTE, IF I MAY, I AM A MOM, I HAVE FOUR CHILDREN, AND I KNOW WITH MY KIDS, I STARTED THEM FROM THE GET-GO. THEY ATE SOLID FOOD, THEY ATE WHAT WE ATE. WE DIDN'T GIVE THEM ALTERNATIVES. TODAY THEY ARE WONDERFUL EATERS. HOW DO YOU DO IT WITH YOUR OWN DAUGHTERS, DO THEY HAVE ANY FAVORITE FRUITS AND VEGETABLES?

>> THEY ARE LIKE ALL KIDS, AND YOU KNOW, WHAT YOU WERE DOING FROM THE START, YOU WERE AHEAD OF ME, BECAUSE I DIDN'T KNOW AS MUCH AS YOU DO NOW, BUT AS WE STARTED MAKING CHANGES, AGAIN, GIVING THEM A WIDE VARIETY OF FRUITS AND VEGETABLES, NOT REALLY GIVING THEM OPTIONS TO PICK AND CHOOSE. DINNER IS DINNER, THAT'S WHAT YOU HAVE, YOU EAT WHAT WE EAT, FINISH YOUR VEGETABLES AND THE MORE THEY EXPLORE, THE MORE CREATIVE AND INTERESTING THEIR PALATES BECOME, AND, YOU KNOW, NOW THEY'VE GOT THEIR FAVORITES, BROCCOLI IS A BIG-TIME WINNER, BUT THERE ARE WAYS TO MAKE, FOR EXAMPLE, A HAMBURGER HEALTHIER, YOU KNOW, THOSE ARE THE KIND OF THINGS THAT WE DO. YOU HAVE LEAN MEAT, YOU PUT IT ON A WHOLE WHEAT BUN WITH FRUITS AND VEGETABLES. YOU BAKE YOUR FRIES INSTEAD OF FRYING THEM. THOSE ARE ALL LITTLE THINGS, THEY LOOK AT A MEAL AND GO, YOU KNOW WHAT, THIS IS ACTUALLY PRETTY GOOD. AND THEN IT'S HARDER FOR THEM TO, YOU KNOW, EAT THE FAST FOOD THAT'S SALTIER AND HIGHER IN SODIUM AND HAS MORE SUGAR, BECAUSE THEIR TASTE BUDS HAVE CHANGED. SO YOU KNOW, YOU ARE ONE OF THOSE PARENTS WHO CAN SHARE THOSE GREAT IDEAS, AND HELP OTHERS UNDERSTAND HOW YOU MAKE THESE CHANGES AND GET THROUGH THE PAINFUL MOMENTS UNTIL THEY GROW UP AND ACTUALLY GET ACCUSTOMED TO THE HABITS AND THE HOUSEHOLD.

>> ABSOLUTELY. MRS. OBAMA, THANK YOU VERY MUCH.

>> THANK YOU.

>> IT'S BEEN MY PLEASURE.

>> THANK YOU FOR TAKING THE TIME.

>> APPRECIATE THIS OPPORTUNITY.

>> THE KIDS WERE AMAZING. THEY REPRESENTED THE COMMUNITY QUITE WELL. YOU ALL SHOULD BE PROUD.

>> WE ARE VERY PROUD. VERMONTERS ARE VERY PROUD OF OUR STUDENTS FROM MILTON.

>> AND BEST OF LUCK TO THEM WITH THEIR INITIATIVE AT THEIR CAFETERIA, AND ALSO IN THEIR GARDEN. SO WE ARE IN APRIL, AND PEOPLE ARE GETTING READY TO PLANT THEIR GARDENS. I KNOW, STEVE, YOU GOING TO HAVE A GARDEN THIS YEAR?

>> FIRST YEAR I'M GOING TO, NOW THAT I'M UP HERE IN VERMONT, I HAVE TO. DO SOME POTATOES.

>> GET THE PEAS IN SHORTLY. GET THE PEAS IN, SO YOU WILL HAVE PEAS AND POTATOES BY THE 4TH OF JULY.

>> BY THE 4TH OF JULY.

>> WHICH IS NOT AN EASY TASK. SHE ALSO TALKED, AND WE ALL KNOW ABOUT KALE IN VERMONT. IT WAS INTERESTING SHE MENTIONED THAT THE -- I BELIEVE IT IS THE CHEF IN THE PIECE THAT SAID THEY ARE REALLY USING A LOT OF KALE IN THE MENU.

>> BRIDGETT ASKED THE WHITE HOUSE CHEF WHAT THEY WERE -- THE OBAMAS WERE REALLY ASKING FOR ON THEIR MENU FOR THIS TIME OF YEAR. THEY SAID A LOT OF KALE. PUSHING A LOT OF KALE.

>> ALL RIGHT. WELL, THAT'S GOING TO DO IT FOR THIS WEEK'S EDITION OF "YOU CAN QUOTE ME." WE'LL HAVE MORE NEWS THROUGHOUT THE DAY RIGHT HERE ON CHANNEL 3, AND ALSO ALL NEXT WEEK. THANKS FOR JOINING US. I'M ANSON TEBBETTS. Captioning provided by Caption Associates, LLC captionassociates.com

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