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Vermont gov wants more time on$1.6B health plan

Published on NewsOK Modified: January 24, 2013 at 6:55 pm •  Published: January 24, 2013

At the time, it was thought the state might get a special federal waiver allowing it to start up its new system in 2014, but Congress has taken action a waiver. Under the federal Affordable Care Act, that means 2017 is the earliest Vermont could implement its system.

Administration officials have been saying for months there's no point in deciding how to pay for the universal system four years before it starts.

Robin Lunge, Shumlin's director of health care reform, and Vermont Department of Health Access Commissioner Mark Larson said the legislature won't be asked to endorse a financing plan this session.

"We need to gather broad input on financing. Publicly financed health coverage will make sense to most Vermonters, but we have to explain it and we need input on how best to spread the cost burden," they said in a statement.

While missing the Jan. 15 deadline for a financing plan appeared to violate the 2011 law, a key lawmaker said he had no objection.

Rep. Mike Fisher, D-Lincoln and chairman of the House Health Care Committee, said it would be premature to produce a financing plan now for a system that won't be up and running for four years.

The Vermont system would not be truly universal. The report estimated that some employers and individuals would fall outside of it, including those working for the federal government and covered by its health plans, as well as those who work for companies that are "self-insured," assuming the financial risks of their employees' health coverage.