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Vt. lawmakers seek single-payer data - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. lawmakers seek single-payer data

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MONTPELIER, Vt. -

Data is at the heart of Obamacare and the state's planned transition to single-payer in 2017.

Through collection and analysis, administrators hope to find efficiencies and best practices. If the figures don't add up, data could halt plans before they even begin.

For spectators of health reform in Vermont, progress is all about the numbers. Ranges cover large unknowns, like the cost of single-payer and future statewide physician need, while 2014 enrollment data is refined.

Everyone working on reform wants more. Administrators want to collect more data and legislators want to see more analysis. "We're going to want to know what kind of metric is going to be used for that, what kind of work has been done in that area," said Sen. Kevin Mullin (R-Rutland).

Rep. Mullin, who oversees the economic development committee, says Gov. Shumlin's administration has not given hospitals enough details around single-payer to properly plan. Hospital spokespeople told his committee the transition has lost those physicians, but has yet to earn them one. "It seems like we keep putting off providing answers to different questions," Rep. Mullin said.

Rep. Mullin fathered an amendment to Act 48 when the plan became law, allowing the legislature to kill single-payer if the numbers don't back up the case for it. His hearings could provide some of the ammo.

The House Health Care Committee began demanding more and more numbers following the online health exchange's flawed rollout. Six months later, enrollment numbers are finally starting to match those initially promised by the administration.

Lawmakers on the House Health Care Committee say they're enthused by enrollment figures which are finally approaching 100,000 in total.

"We want to confirm those and then I do think that we need to go back and look at those in the context of the expectations of the number of Vermonters who had to transition to new coverage," said Vt. Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson, Vt. Health Access Commissioner.

Lawmakers are concerned that 35-percent of the population which qualified for subsidized coverage chose a different option. They say if that trend holds the budget outlook may be negative.

The deadline for Vermonter's to secure coverage for April passed this weekend, leading to large spikes in the website's use. March 31 is the end of enrollment all-together though. Those without a policy ending after that date or a change of circumstances will be locked out of coverage until January.

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