For Immediate Release
Contact: Shawn Shouldice, 802-498-0059
House of Representatives Ignore Concerns of Small Business
Limited Choice and No Answers about Cost
Montpelier (February 24, 2012) – Legislation passed today by the Vermont House of Representatives to establish Vermont’s Health Care Exchange does not create the “robust marketplace” promised by the federal reform and expressly prohibits an option for individuals and small businesses. The bill heading to the Senate will herd individuals and small businesses toward a limited choice of plans that will cost more, said the National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB) today.
“Although we thank the 57 supporters of Rep. Mark Higley’s amendment; failure by members of the Vermont House of Representatives to amend the bill was a missed opportunity to send small businesses in Vermont, who account for more than 95% of all businesses, a message that they are as important as big businesses, said Shawn Shouldice, who serves as the State Director of National Federation of Independent Business – Vermont (NFIB/VT).
“NFIB/VT believes relegating employers with 50 employees or fewer into the Vermont Exchange will collapse the remaining private market in Vermont and leave businesses with no lifeline should this new system fail,” continued Shouldice.
Additionally, supporters claim they will draw down federal funds to help subsidies the premiums, however, you don’t have to look far to see federal dollars across the board are drying up. The bill does not address the costs or how the new system will be funded. There are no provisions in the bill for what insurance premiums will be or how it will be funded. NFIB/VT agrees that the Vermont health care system should be addressed but this the wrong approach.
Shouldice observed that there was much speculation, no definitive answers, and a distinct lack of understanding about the consequences of the passage of H.559 during the House floor debate. Furthermore, no other state is taking such dramatic steps in their health care reform efforts.
National Federation of Independent Business (NFIB/VT) is the voice of small business with more than 1,800 members across Vermont. For more information about NFIB, please visit www.nfib.com/vermont.