Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Vermont Challenges Status Quo

Vermont on Thursday became the first state in the nation to attempt a sole source option for all medical care, likely inclusive of workers' compensation.

Gov. Pete Shumlin last Thursday signed the state's major health care reform bill into law.

House Bill 202 allows a five-member governing board for a new health insurance exchange called Green Mountain Care to include workers' compensation in the plan but requires that Vermont Labor Commissioner Annie Noonan study the issue and report back to Shumlin and lawmakers next January before any action is taken.

The new system will launch in 2014 or 2017, depending on whether Congress grants waivers from ERISA.

Shumlin said the Green Mountain Care governing board will be appointed and in place by this October. He said the board will begin by working with health care providers to move away from fee-for-service medicine.

This certainly is an historic moment that, in my view, is as fundamental a change in social philosophy and entitlement mentality as the introduction of workers' compensation was 100 years ago.

Kudos to Vermont for having the chutzpah to challenge the status quo. They might not have all the answers, but at least they're willing to try.

My prediction - this is just the start of a tidal wave of health care "reform" into which workers' compensation will be swept, and is the prime moment social reformists seek in changing the mentality of entitlement reform and a revised reward system.

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