Could court ruling change plans for single-payer in Vermont? - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Could court ruling change plans for single-payer in Vermont?

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Some health care experts say a new federal appeals court ruling could create a wrinkle for single-payer planners. But state officials say that's not the case.

Liberty Mutual sued Vermont, opposing a state requirement to report claims information. The insurance company argued it already reports that information to the federal government under ERISA, a federal law governing insurance plans.

Tuesday, the Second Circuit Court of Appeals sided with Liberty Mutual, saying the state of Vermont overstepped in making its own requirement for self-insurers.

Health care analyst Jeanne Keller says the ruling could have major implications on reform efforts in Vermont.

"The reason it has larger implications is that by trying to go to a single-payer the state of Vermont, the Shumlin administration desires basically get rid of self-insured employer plans and have everybody in a single pan. Now what this law raised very strong questions of is would the court see that as interfering with a self-insured plan," Keller said.

But Robin Lunge with Vermont Health Access says the court decision will not interfere with the move toward single-payer. She says about 100,000 Vermonters are covered by self-insured plans and the ruling only effects self-insurers and their reporting requirements. Lunge says the decision does not impact private plans reporting information or financing.

The Vermont attorney general's office is currently considering whether it will appeal the ruling.

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