A bill that received little attention outside of the Statehouse was signed into law today by Governor Scott. H524 originated in the House Healthcare committee after weeks of testimony and thoughtful discussion. It is a broad marketplace stability bill that seeks to protect Vermont's insurance exchange and to protect Vermonters from the dismantling of the affordable care act.
In the health care world, we are often working to balance two opposing schools of thought. One side looks for an expansion of government, and simplification of the existing system by limiting payers. Conversely, another point of view looks to enhance competition, and subject the health care market to a fully free market system. While the visions from each side may be worth pursuing in the long term, it is important for Vermonters to have a functioning and accessible health care system today. This legislation looks to address the pressing concerns of today, while continuing to consider more systemic reforms to how we provide - and pay for - health care in our state.
Although this legislation covers many pieces of health care, the most important to me is the consumer protections, that are in the affordable care act, but were not in state statute. If the affordable care act is repealed or dismantled, now, in Vermont we will have the following protections:
In my short 3 years in the legislator, the house healthcare committee has continued to battle against the threats at the federal level to dismantle the affordable care act. H524 is a giant step forward in protecting Vermonters. Yes, we still have a lot of work to do on cost and access. But I will rest a little bit easier tonight knowing we have these protections.