Thursday morning, almost every lawmaker on the Health Care Oversight committee peppered Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson about Vermont's bumpy transition into its health exchange. But earlier, the discussion centered around the state's next planned overhaul: the 2017 move to single-payer health care. A study released by the University of Massachusetts last year estimated the cost to be $1.6 billion.
"What we found, though, were a couple of assumptions that were valid at face point, but if you kind of started looking at them and pulling them apart a little bit it did make you stop and start to question things a little bit," said Eric Hammelman of Avalere Health.
Consultants independently hired by the state's hospitals examined the same question. They told legislators the cost is more likely to fall between $1.9 billion and $2.2 billion.
"Effectively there's two big assumptions there," Hammelman said.
The consultants from Avalere Health say projections for dollars saved by improving claim administration won't reach expectations because the state's providers have already made significant improvement, with a rate far below the national average. They also say the proposed care reimbursement rate may be set too low; raising it will mean higher taxpayer cost.
Vermont Director of Health Care Reform Robin Lunge quibbles with some of the new report's methodology, but says the higher figure wouldn't put a halt to reform.
"Even using their assumptions, it proves the point that Green Mountain Care is still an improvement over today's system, which we know is broken," Lunge said.
Officials say 3,400 of the 100,000 expected to enter the Vermont's exchange have selected a plan. But bugs are causing many to question if the state can pull off the single-payer experiment in just a few years.
Consultants also warned legislators that the state should expect Vermonters to use more health care if and when single-payer health care becomes a reality. That's because most are expected to purchase silver plans on the exchange, but Green Mountain Care coverage would be more similar to gold and platinum offerings.
Friday, April 18 2014 12:04 AM EDT2014-04-18 04:04:40 GMT
A Putney man was taken to the hospital after police say he was run over in a driveway. It happened this afternoon on Kimball Hill Road. Investigators say 63-year-old Eric Ladd was walking slipped and hitMore >>
A Putney man was taken to the hospital after police say he was run over in a driveway. It happened this afternoon on Kimball Hill Road.More >>
Friday, April 18 2014 12:00 AM EDT2014-04-18 04:00:59 GMT
Police are searching for clues after a homemade bottle bomb was found at a park in Keene New Hampshire. On Wednesday workers were doing spring clean-up at Wheelock park when they found a 55-gallon drumMore >>
Police are searching for clues after a homemade bottle bomb was found at a park in Keene New Hampshire.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:58 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:58:40 GMT
There's been a tragedy on the Burlington beltway Thursday night. Police confirm that a 24-year-old Winooski man was killed in a motorcycle crash that shutdown the beltway. The name has been releasedMore >>
Burlington Police confirm that a 24-year-old Winooski man was killed in a motorcycle crash that shutdown the beltline.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:08 PM EDT2014-04-18 03:08:04 GMT
Police say two people found dead at a home in Stowe are believed to have died in a murder-suicide. Police are still not releasing their names or the cause of death, but they say the victims are adults. StoweMore >>
A Stowe couple is dead after what police say was a murder-suicide. The news came as a shock to neighbors who say they never noticed any red flags. More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 6:58 PM EDT2014-04-17 22:58:26 GMT
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury. Timothy Foley did appear in court Thursday in Middlebury. He wasn't there last time,More >>
A man charged with shooting his neighbor and two Vermont State Police officers was in court Thursday in Middlebury.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 11:26 AM EDT2014-04-17 15:26:34 GMT
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to...More >>
A 79-year-old woman accused of causing the death of a motorcyclist in Vermont last year has pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge of careless or negligent operation and has received a suspended sentence of six to 12 months.More >>
Thursday, April 17 2014 12:05 PM EDT2014-04-17 16:05:16 GMT
A teenager has been arrested for making a bomb threat in St. Albans. Police say the threat was made to Project SOAR, an alternative school, Wednesday morning. The building was searched and no bomb wasMore >>
Police say a teenager has been arrested for allegedly making a bomb threat to an alternative school in St. Albans.More >>