Sunday, May 14, 2006

Vermont Healthcare

here's how vermont is providing healthcare for everyone:
By ROSS SNEYD, Associated Press WriterTue

As many as 25,000 Vermont residents who have no health insurance will be able to get it under a reform package agreed to Tuesday by Gov. Jim Douglas and legislative leaders.

The bill would extend health care coverage to as much as 96 percent of the state's population by 2010. Currently, slightly less than 90 percent of Vermonters have health insurance.

"This gets health insurance into the hands of Vermonters who don't have it," said House Speaker Gaye Symington. "It isn't just insurance. It's quality insurance."

The bill — worked out between the Republican governor and leaders of the Democratic-controlled Legislature — calls for the creation of Catamount Health, a new insurance plan that would be sold by private companies but would be subsidized by the state for those who cannot afford it.

It would be funded by increases in the cigarette tax and a new $365-per-employee annual fee that would be imposed on businesses that do not provide their workers with insurance.

Advocates said Catamount Health would go further than the universal health care plan approved in Massachusetts earlier this spring. That is because the plan is designed to provide better care for people with chronic conditions such as diabetes, heart disease or cancer and head off serious complications.

It is designed "so we pay for the blood work and not the amputation," said House Health Care Committee chairman Rep. John Tracy, a Democrat.