State’s largest insurer seeks 9.8 percent increase in health exchange premiums


Vermont’s largest health insurer is asking state regulators to approve an average 9.8 percent increase in premiums for plans it offers through the state’s federally mandated exchange.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont said Monday the increase is needed to cover rising medical and pharmaceutical costs for their members and increased federal fees charged to insurers as part of the Affordable Care Act.

If the Green Mountain Care Board, which is responsible for reviewing and approving the exchange rates, signs off on Blue Cross’ request, monthly premiums for the six standard plans it offers on Vermont Health Connect would go up between $20 and $70 in 2015.

In last year’s rate review process Blue Cross’ requests for exchange plan prices were revised down an average of 4.2 percent by the board.

MVP Health Care, the other insurer offering coverage through the exchange, did not provide its rate request filings or return calls for comment by publication time Monday. The filings are public record and had to be submitted to the Green Mountain Care Board by Monday. The filings for both companies will be posted on the board’s website Tuesday, said Susan Barrett, the board’s executive director.

Don George, CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont, supported the decision to extend existing health care plans beyond Jan. 1. Photo by Andrew Stein/VTDigger

Don George, CEO of Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Vermont. VTDigger file photo

“We recognize that this increase is likely to be difficult to absorb for many members who receive their coverage through Vermont’s new exchange products, and we have done everything we can to reduce it,” Blue Cross CEO Don George said in a statement released Monday.

“We also understand the importance of adequately funding our health care system, to keep it strong and accessible. And since the factors driving this rate increase are almost entirely related to federal policy changes and increases in prices paid to medical providers in Vermont, there is no way to further reduce these rates without underfunding the health care coverage on which Vermonters rely.”

According to a breakdown of the rate request provided by Blue Cross, almost 5 percent of the overall 9.8 percent increase is to cover federal charges associated with the Affordable Care Act. Some of those charges are used to pay for the subsidies provided through the new law, which make exchange insurance products more affordable for low-income people.

Payments to providers are expected to increase 4.8 percent in 2015, according to Blue Cross, an increase that flows directly to premiums. That increase is regulated, in part, by the state because the Green Mountain Care Board must approve hospital budgets.

Another 1.3 percent of the requested increase is to cover additional child dental services required by the state and to keep other costs associated with a health plan from rising. The out-of-pocket costs, such as co-pays, coinsurance and deductibles associated with exchange plans will not go up, said Kevin Goddard, vice president of external relations for Blue Cross.

Goddard said that Blue Cross reduced its administrative fees as a percentage of premiums to keep the rates from going up further.

The company used “very aggressive assumptions” in compiling its rates, and went with the lower end of the acceptable rate increase range developed by its actuaries, Goddard said. The rates assume that people new to the individual and small group market will be healthier and use fewer health care services, he said.

The Green Mountain Care Board has 90 days to review, possibly adjust and then approve the rate requests of the two carriers. The new rates will take effect in January.

Blue Cross covers close to 200,000 Vermonters – almost one-third of the state’s population – and covers just over half the individual and small group market enrolled in private insurance through Vermont Health Connect exchange.

There are 35,037 people who bought exchange health plans from Blue Cross, covering 57,876 lives. The total number of commercial health plans purchased during the exchange’s first year of operation was 60,835.

The state does not report coverage through Vermont Health Connect in lives covered, so the total population covered through the exchange can’t be known without numbers from MVP.

Twenty percent of plans purchased on the exchange were bronze, making it the most popular after the silver, which accounted for 52 percent of purchased plans, according to figures from the state.

The standard plans are platinum, gold, silver and bronze, with two high-deductible plans at the silver and bronze levels. The platinum plans have the highest premiums and lower out-of-pocket costs, and scale down to bronze, with lower premiums and greater out-of-pocket expenses.

An earlier version of this story incorrectly characterized the relationship between the metal plans.

Morgan TrueMorgan True

Comments

  1. Dave Bellini :

    Vermonters already can’t afford the plans. So much for creating the GMCB to rein in healthcare costs…… How’s that working?
    Vermont is forcing everyone into the exchange so healthcare will be equally unaffordable for everyone.
    “Single payer” will be little different from the exchange plans. Vermonters can count on difficult deductibles and co-pays. The single payer “premiums” will be in the form of a tax but they will be just as high as the premiums in the exchange plans. When the state of Vermont is involved there is no “cost containment.”
    It’s a rigged game.

  2. Walter Carpenter :

    “The single payer “premiums” will be in the form of a tax but they will be just as high as the premiums in the exchange plans.”

    Dave, how do you know this? Or is this just a guess?

    “GMCB to rein in healthcare costs…… How’s that working?”

    And if the GMCB was not there to at least to get a handle on costs, how would it be working then? Without the GMCB there, I am sure that the proposed increased (as opposed to definite) would be in the double digits. And, as this is proposed, it is by no means certain that this is what they and the GMCB will settle on.

    • Wendy wilton :

      Doesn’t the tax or premium need to pay the costs of the system to cover the participants? The answer is yes and it’s simple math.

      As if you needed one more reason to seek balance in state government in the governor or your legislative representation…this rises to the top.

      So, let’s fix it. But we can’t do that with the flat tires we currently have under the dome or the absent Shumlin who’s concerned with his next political move.

    • Dudley Smith :

      “Dave, how do you know this? Or is this just a guess? ”

      Single-payer health care (aka: universal health care) is not insurance. As such, there would be no deductibles or premiums. Everyone’s taxes will go way up to cover all health care costs for everyone.

      Fear not…we will all be in the poor house in a very short time.

  3. Dave Bellini :

    “Dave, how do you know this?”
    .
    1 Because there isn’t going to be any “savings.”
    .

    2 There is no magic.
    .
    3 Costs keep increasing not decreasing.
    .
    4 The same people will be running single payer that are in place now.
    .
    5 A “single payer” is supposed to “look more like” the platinum plan.
    .
    6 Like everything else, costs will be shifted to the public.
    .
    7 It’s modeled after Canada – bad.
    .
    8 This administration embraces incompetence. High level jobs are political perks, talent and leadership are not required.
    .
    GMCB isn’t getting a handle on anything. Start with the salary of the CEO at Fletcher Allen. When is that coming down to Earth?

    • Cheryl Pariseau :

      The U.S. census estimates the Vermont population at 626,630. As of 2012 19.8% of the population was under 18 (626,630 – 124,073 = 502,557), 15.7% were over the age of 65 (502,557 – 98,381 = 404,176) and 11.6% of the population had incomes below the poverty rate (404,176 – 72,689 = 331,487). Now my reasoning for removing these people from the population count is that under 18 are usually covered by their parents insurance, over 65 usually receive Medicare and those under the poverty rate receive Medicaid. Once these people are taken out of the equation it leave 331,487 people to pay a 2 billion a year bill, which equates to $6,033 per person or $502 per month. That does not even account for those who have simply dropped out of the work force (approx 8,000+ last year) federal workers and others who will not (e.g. ERSA, TRI-Care ect.) have to participate in Vermont’s social experiment. The numbers are not there to successfully implement single payer in a state as small as Vermont.

      • John Greenberg :

        “The numbers are not there to successfully implement single payer in a state as small as Vermont.”

        Please explain how Iceland, population 325,000 does it? http://www.sjukra.is/english/social-insurance-in-iceland/

        • Cheryl Pariseau :

          John,
          The GDP for Iceland in 2012 was 13.66 BILLION. In 2012 it was 27.3 million, which is the lowest GDP in the United States. Also the average salary for Icelander’s is $42,600, while the average Vermonter is at $28,800. Nevertheless, 85% of the Icelandic health care is paid for via taxes. Vermont simply does not have the money to sustain universal health care alone.

          • Walter Carpenter :

            “Vermont simply does not have the money to sustain universal health care alone.”

            Perhaps it would if we were not stuck paying all these premiums. I am not saying that Vermont lacks the ability/resources to do this, for we already pay $5 billion a year and then some, for health care here. If you drop the premiums/deductibles/co-pays we pay, there is probably more than enough.

        • Dave Bellini :

          John,
          You’re comparing apples to oranges.
          Iceland is a nation. VT is 1/50th of a nation.
          Big difference. I don’t know the Icelandic system.
          I believe America could have the best single payer in the world if we did it throughout the country.
          What Vermont is attempting is to have a “single payer” with part of a small state. There’s no great way to control costs. Big Pharma is getting way too much, for example. It’s cheaper to buy the same drugs in other countries.
          When the CEO at Fletcher Allen makes about what the Governor makes, that will be progress. I don’t see what the GMCB is doing to lower costs.

          • John Greenberg :

            I am comparing populations to populations. As to state vs. country, Canada’s system began in one province.

      • Lance Hagen :

        Cheryl, some corrections in your numbers

        Medicare # = 117,393 (as of 2012) and not 98,381
        Medicaid # = 196,412 (as of 2010 … with Obamacare the number will be larger) and not 72,689

        http://kff.org/statedata/?state=VT

        So the net in people to pay a 2 billion a year bill is 188,752 and not 331,487.

        Which means an annual bill of $10,596 or $883/month

        • Cheryl Pariseau :

          My information was taken from the US Census. Nevertheless, your numbers are even worse and you also did not factor in the people who would not be subject to GMC. Regardless my observation that the $$$ and paying participants just aren’t there is still true. Thank you for the correction.

      • Bob Goldberg :

        What numbers would you consider sufficient?

      • Wendy wilton :

        Cheryl I concur with your math. What you have clearly laid out is a tax level of $24,000 per year for a family of four between the employer and employee for a family with a moderate income. The tax levels will likely be progressive with high wage earners paying more. For working Vermonters who fall on the lower end of the wage scale the tax rate will be lower, but these are the families who can barely afford to live. This tax hike for health care will hit them hardest like those who were previously covered by Catamount have experienced higher costs as they were driven to VHC.

      • Paul Lorenzini :

        pile on property taxes and energy and food and water costs and that 331,000 number is going to shrink pretty quick, leaving the land in the hands of the elite.

        Marxism by design, it is working.

        Shame on us.

    • Comments on 1 thru 8 through are based purely on conjecture and have no basis on fact or even a reasonable guesstimate.
      Green Mountain Care, for all Vermonters, will eliminate the disparity of coverage that currently exists among the various insurance plans that are based primarily on employment status.
      Say what you want about the the Canadian system, Canadians live longer, spend less, and aren’t tied to jobs because of benefits.

      • Craig Powers :

        Keep dreaming Jerry. Your conjecture that this is possible, on a state level, based on a faltering Canadian system is the definition of fantasy.

        With NO coverage and financing details after three + years it sure looks like this might not happen.

        • Craig, do you have a better plan, and if so what is it? The Wiltons, McClaughrys, Lismans, Brocks, Johnstons, Lindleys etc. etc. are all experts at pitching fear, uncertainty and doubt but strike out when it’s their turn at bat at proposing an alternate plan..

          Also, the so called “faltering Canadian system” is news to our friends in Vancouver.

          • Craig Powers :

            Jerry:

            When all fails with your “plan”, divert attention from it’s shortcomings by asking another question and providing zero details.

            Classic response.

          • I guess that means there isn’t an alternate plan other than the current insurance based system.

        • Walter Carpenter :

          “With NO coverage and financing details after three + years it sure looks like this might not happen.”

          What if it does happen?

      • I should have added that I agree that hospital and insurance administrators’ salaries and “golden parachutes” are way out of line.

        • Andrew Fischer :

          Jerry, I agree with you regarding the administrators’ insane salaries and golden parachutes. You asked for other ideas previously. Here is one to think about:

          Instead of focusing so much on gathering obscene amounts of money from every working individual and business, perhaps some competition would address the cost side of the problem. Look at slides 70, 71, and 72 in Mary Meeker’s 2014 Internet report from Kleiner Perkins. Here:

          http://www.slideshare.net/kleinerperkins/internet-trends-2014-05-28-14-pdf

          The cost of digital storage has gone from $569 per gigabyte to less than 2 cents in 20 years. Storage, bandwidth, processing are very competitive industries, unlike health care.

          Competition does amazing things. If Vermont would stop restricting it so much, we’d all be better off.

          • Craig Powers :

            Jerry does not like competition much at all, Andrew. That is capitalism and is blatantly unfair and unjust in his eyes. Someone might have an advantage over someone else, and this must be corrected by a new law, or higher tax!

            He wants everyone to be the plain old vanilla same, except that “rich” people and profitable businesses should pay their “fair share” via progressive taxes to wrong the injustice.

            Now that is fair!!! Right Jerry?

          • Walter Carpenter :

            “perhaps some competition would address the cost side of the problem.”

            Exactly when has competition addressed the cost side of the problem before? We have these oil companies, for example, all competing with each other for your dollars at the gas pumps. The prices for all of them are all about the same. We have had insurance companies, hospitals, etc, competing for our health care dollars and this has not done a thing to control costs.

    • Walter Carpenter :

      “GMCB isn’t getting a handle on anything. Start with the salary of the CEO at Fletcher Allen. When is that coming down to Earth?”

      Again, Dave, eight assumptions simply put out there from personal opinion. I do agree with you, however, on the unearthly salary of the CEOs at fletcher. Just think what they would be without the GMCB.

    • “It’s modeled after Canada – bad.”

      I don’t know where you get your information (although I could make a pretty good guess), but according to former CIGNA exectutive, Wendell Potter (I suggest you read some of his stuff, he certainly knows a lot more about the current US health insurance industry than anyone who has commented on this article), Canadians are very fearful of being downgraded to the American system.

      “Although Canadian lawmakers are debating how to ensure the continued financial viability of their system, which they call Medicare, no one in Ottawa of any ideological stripe would dare suggest doing much tinkering. Canadians talk with pride about their health care system, about how it is part of the country’s DNA.

      I told the lawmakers and others how my colleagues and I in the health insurance industry worked over several decades to scare Americans about the Canadian system by perpetuating myths about long waits for medically necessary care. What scares Canadians, by contrast, is that lawmakers might unwittingly enact reforms that would lead the country down a “slippery slope toward American-style health care.””
      http://www.publicintegrity.org/2014/05/19/14783/different-way-thinking-about-health-care

  4. Wayne Andrews :

    I dont know how in hell the citizens of Vermont are going to afford this. 5% increase for federal charges! I guess that part wasn’t too publicized by the Obama ilk. But it only a charge it won’t cost us working stiffs a dime, right Walter?

  5. Paul Lutz :

    Stop the press, how is this possible???

    Cost are increasing because of the AFFORDABLE Care act? What????

    Maybe we should just open the borders and then force everyone to but the gold plan. Everyone except the illegals, the poor, certain age groups, the very rich. Ok, eveyone that is in the middle class will have to pay.

    • John Greenberg :

      “Cost are increasing because of the AFFORDABLE Care act? What????”

      And they weren’t increasing before?

      • Craig Powers :

        The promise was that premiums would go down by $2500 and you could keep your policy. Another broken political promise.

        • John Greenberg :

          Whose promise?

          • Paul Lorenzini :

            The presidents John. Period!

          • Craig Powers :

            You know who said THIS.

          • John Greenberg :

            I certainly heard the promise that you can “keep your policy.” But I listen to and read a lot of news and I never heard anyone suggest a reduction of $2500. Please cite a link to a source for that statement.

    • Of course costs are increasing. Obamacare is modeled after the proposal that the Heritage Foundation came up with in the early 90′s which the Republicans presented as an alternative to Hillarycare. As with a lot of Republican ideas (and increasingly Democratic ideas as the Republican Party goes further out into looneyville and the dems rush in to claim the turf which the Repubs are vacating), it was based on the myth that there is a free market that exists and that if we just let the “free market” work its magic than we will all be free and prosperous and live happily ever after.

  6. Keith Stern :

    I hope readers here go look at Mark Donka’s partial plan post on his website markdonkaforvt.com. A more complete, comprehensive plan is coming but this shows how to help the lower income people in a less expensive, simpler, and effective manner.

  7. For the past several months we have been told by President Obama and others that health care costs had already started dropping.

    If so this were anywhere close to true:

    Where are the savings for consumers?

    Where is the bend in the cost curve?

    Where are Obama, Shumlin and his supporters in Vermont Legislature?

    Where is the Green Mountain Care Board?

    Hello, Hello, anyone home?

    Now we know why Anya Rader Wallack high tailed it before the Grim Reaper of price increases showed up to collect his due. A visit, Ms. Wallack apparently knew was not to be avoided.

    And for my friend Walter, these high price increases aren’t the doings of the evil insurance companies. They are the product of bad policy and execution built on a foundation of poor assumptions.

    • James Gill :

      I think Walter is just looking for someone to pay his way

    • John Greenberg :

      Peter,

      Two points:

      1) Obama didn’t say anything about Vermont in particular.

      2) Obama used the phrase you quote — bending the curve — and that’s precisely what’s happening. Medical costs in the US continue to rise, but at a SLOWER rate after the bill than before it.

      A few quick examples: Medicare grew 4.8% in 2012 after growing 5% in 2011. Private health insurance grew 3.2% in 2012 after growing at 3.4% in 2011. Not all the statistics point in this direction, but some do. For more, see http://www.cms.gov/Research-Statistics-Data-and-Systems/Statistics-Trends-and-Reports/NationalHealthExpendData/Downloads/highlights.pdf

      • John:

        When Obama speaks to America are we supposed to look for a footnote indicating what states are or are not included in his statements?

        Since, you raise the issue, can you show us the footnote from Obama indicating that his promise to bend the health care cost curve didn’t pertain to Vermont?

        • John Greenberg :

          I didn’t say it didn’t pertain to Vermont. I said his comment was about the United States, not about any particular state.

          So far, the jury is out on whether his remarks are true or false for Vermont.

          But should they prove to be false for one state in particular while proving correct for the nation as a whole, they would still be true.

          You know as well as I do that EVERY president makes similar statements about national policies without being held to your spurious standard that they must be rigorously correct in every state.

    • Walter Carpenter :

      “And for my friend Walter, these high price increases aren’t the doings of the evil insurance companies.”

      As for my friend, Peter, please prove it. Are they or are they not trying to lock in the highest prices that they can while they can? Are they greater or lesser in other states?

  8. Phyllis North :

    OK, health care costs are shooting up and look like they will continue to do so in future years. My property taxes are soaring and there is no end in sight. But my income is flat and I am struggling to save for retirement. What is wrong with this picture?

    • Keith Stern :

      Well I hope you go out this election cycle and help a Republican candidate who pledges to reduce government spending and gets taxes under control. You won’t get that from a Democrat.

  9. Wayne Andrews :

    Whats wrong with this picture is the tax and spent govt of ours takes us complainers as being the ‘super rich” instead of believing we are the middle class with an educated voice.

  10. Jeanne Keller :

    How much did the legislature increase the Medicaid cost shift this year? Did they budget for Medicaid payments to providers to go up at least at inflation and for volume increases, and for the additional people added to Medicaid? If not, then they added to the hundreds of millions we are already paying in our private insurance premiums to subsidize Medicaid underpayment to hospitals….Was anyone tracking that this year?

  11. Kathy Callaghan :

    Thank you Cheryl Pariseau for this mathematical reminder. It needs to be read daily by each and every Vermonter.

  12. “When the state of Vermont is involved there is no “cost containment.”

    I would say that the inverse is the worst case scenario.

    For the future: ANY plan that puts medical care on the same balance sheet as all other state expenses — expenses like pensions and crumbling bridges — is a plan that guarantees a divisive disaster — where sick people are fighting for care — as the state tries to balance taxes, care and 1000 other major obligations.

    Look at the VA and also NHS/UK.

  13. John Greenberg :

    “Look at the VA and also NHS/UK.”

    Please do!

    Both programs have problems — they are, after all, human institutions — but both are extremely popular with their participants. The existing US system for the rest of us, on the other hand, is exceedingly UNpopular.

  14. Cynthia Browning :

    For Ms. Keller: based on a quick check of my materials, I believe that the Legislature increased the Medicaid reimbursement rates by 1.6%, and I believe that this was financed in part by increasing the assessment on employers who do not provide health insurance or whose employees instead are eligible for Medicaid.

    I will check further, but that is what I see after a quick check. My recollection is that the Medicaid reimbursement increase just prevents providers compensation from falling further behind and increasing the cost shift to private insurance.

    Rep. Cynthia Browning, Arlington

  15. Rusty Brigham :

    The biggest problem here is that no one regulating what the hospitals are charging all of us!! I know someone that just had shoulder surgery and spent just two nights in the hospital, bet no one can guess what they were charged…? well I will tell you THE BILL WAS $135,000.00 and the doctor only got $7,000.00 of it.. Now that’s just wrong people!!!

  16. Ron Pulcer :

    While 9.8% increase in premiums does sound high, and given that it is the 2nd year of the ACA / VT Healthcare Exchange, it does not sound like good news.

    But, to put this in perspective I reviewed my ERISA plan over a decade (premiums, deductibles, out of pocket maximums). Based on my ERISA plan a 9.8% increase either looks very good or somewhat high, depending on the year.

    With a small ERISA pool of around 200-250 people (depending on the year), the increases seemed to fluctuate somewhat randomly. The increases were very high, then they got better, and now they are starting to get higher again.

    Out of 11 years of premium history, there were 6 years of double-digit premium increases. The two worst years were 25% and 17% increases. The best year was when we switched from CIGNA to CBA Blue (0%). CBA Blue kept our rates the same and gave us some better benefits. But that did not last long. After that the premiums and deductibles started going up.

    In 2003-04, for an individual on ERISA plan, it started at $28 per bi-weekly pay period for premiums. The employer / employee split is 80%/20%, so back then the total combined premium was $3640 annually.

    Currently for 2013-14, it has gone up to 76.26. It was tricky to compare since we went to a wellness discount program starting in 2009. So I applied my 2 out 3 possible discounts I received from 2009-2014. So the 76.26 I pay now would have been $114.63 per pay period without the discounts. It is probably shifted from 80/20 to about 75/25 split over time, so my estimate for annual combined premium is now $7931. So the average annual premium increase over a decade is 11.7%. This does not account for increases in deductibles or out-of-pocket maximums.

    In the last 3 years the CBA Blue premiums have gone up 10%, 5% and 6.5% (with my discounts applied). That is better than 9.8%, but still well above inflation. CBA Blue is affiliated with BCBS of Vermont.

    The annual deductible has gone up from $400 to $1200 over that time. The annual out-of-pocket maximum has gone up from $900 to $2000 during the decade.

    This above history was for private insurance through ERISA self-funded plan (not a government plan or healthcare exchange).

    So the 9.8% proposed increase does not sound very good. But given the decade-plus history of our ERISA plan, it is in the middle of the pack as far as yearly increases.

    If you also factor in our ERISA plan’s increase in deductibles and out-of-pocket maximum over time, especially very recent increases to $1200 deductible and $2000 out-of-pocket, it would make our 6.5% increase better than it “actually” is, when comparing to to 9.8%.

    Regarding VT Health Connect, I guess it will take a track record of a few years to really tell for sure. But it is surely disheartening news for those on the VT Health Connect with BCBS plans.

    • John Greenberg :

      Ron,

      It isn’t news at all. It’s a rate increase REQUEST. Let’s see what the actual permitted increase is before we draw any conclusions.

      If the chart provided in the article is any indication, NONE of the rates requested last year were granted in their entirety.

      • Ron Pulcer :

        John,

        Yes, GMC Board must approve or lower these rate requests. That is clear.

        But given that 9.8% number was thrown out there, I was going back to see how it compares to an ERISA plan (mine).

        Also, as I said, it is not just a one year thing. We will have to track exchange rates over time (same with single payer).

        The cost-shifting will not necessarily end, just because we have an “exchange” or “single-payer”. While I do support the reforms, I am following the Missouri motto of “Show Me” state (show us the financial plan).

    • Walter Carpenter :

      “Based on my ERISA plan a 9.8% increase either looks very good or somewhat high, depending on the year.”

      Thanks, Ron. While on vhap, I remember that my monthly premiums never went up like this. In fact, they never went up at all. While they increased or decreased according to my income situation, these were always the same.

  17. Paul Lorenzini :

    This is by design of the globalists, in order to reduce Americans standard of living to that of third world countries, except for those that make the laws.

    • Walter Carpenter :

      “This is by design of the globalists, in order to reduce Americans standard of living to that of third world countries”

      You mean the Koch brothers? They are the ones trying to reduce the status of the middle class to the poverty of a a third world nation.

      • Paul Lorenzini :

        Well, I am not sure that is their AGENDA 21, but both sides have one, and it is for they, not we.

  18. Paul Lorenzini :

    Identify your neighborhood globalist and tell them what you think. I did and I got prosecuted. Not executed, so have some damn guts, I know there is a majority that feels this way, but are cowed by the few.

  19. David Usher :

    This proposed increase is evidence that cost control has failed. Spending caps are essential, yet GMC board has not yet applied them.

  20. Craig Powers :
    • John Greenberg :

      Thank you.

      Just to be clear, this was an assertion made during the campaign, so it was made about the law AS PROPOSED, not the law AS PASSED. I’m not sure how much difference that would make, but it’s worth noting.

      It is also worth noting that the assertion was about a “typical family” and I frankly have no idea what that means. But actual costs under Obamacare will vary widely by state (Vermont being one of the most expensive), by income level and whether the premium is subsidized, etc.

      All that said, the claim may well be false.

      • John:

        Is this another example of needing to look for a footnote to know what Obama really means?

        • John Greenberg :

          It’s an example of reality being complex, Peter. Something that apparently you either can’t fathom or can’t accept.

          • John:

            There you go again. Finding your self hopelessly trapped in an indefensible position you resort to name calling and disparaging remarks. We have seen this all too many times before from you.

            What you have to accept is that the Obama chickens are coming home to roost and its making those in the hen house very nervous as health care premiums go up…..and go up dramatically in Vermont.

            Not cited in this article, but reported by Peter Hirscfeld of Vermont Public Radio, MVP is asking for rate increases in excess of 15%. Ouch!

          • John Greenberg :

            Peter,

            An accusation of ” name calling and disparaging remarks” for you is pretty darned rich. Read your own comments about the President or the governor, Peter. Geez!

            My “position” is not indefensible.” I asked for the source of a quote because I didn’t remember Obama making that pledge (still don’t, but I take the article’s word for it).

            I provided some brief context and noted that the remark may still be wrong.

            Then you decided to pile on and I responded.

            I certainly hope you intend to hold every candidate and every public official to the same standard as you do Barack Obama, Peter Shumlin and Tony Klein, but so far, there hasn’t been any sign of that.

  21. David Dempsey :

    Act 48 was proposed by the governor and approved by the democratic majority in the legislature. The act made it mandatory for all Vermonters to eventually purchase their insurance from the exchange, after a phase in period, except for employees who have self insured plans from their employers. Vermont is the only state in the country to have this mandate. My three legislative representatives told me that they didn’t read the entire bill and they didn’t know about the mandate that was in it and voted with their party. Now BC/BS has basically no competition other than MVP, that has nearly identical rates. The legislature passed Act 48 which created this monopoly that eliminated any competition for health insurance in Vermont. I wonder how many of them realized that when they voted.

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