NFIB: House "ignores" concerns of small business

NFIB: House “ignores” concerns of small business

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

Press Release

Leave a Reply

10 Comments on "NFIB: House “ignores” concerns of small business"


Comment Policy requires that all commenters identify themselves by their authentic first and last names. Initials, pseudonyms or screen names are not permissible.

No personal harassment, abuse, or hate speech is permitted. Be succinct and to the point. If your comment is over 500 words, consider sending a commentary instead.

We personally review and moderate every comment that is posted here. This takes a lot of time; please consider donating to keep the conversation productive and informative.

The purpose of this policy is to encourage a civil discourse among readers who are willing to stand behind their identities and their comments. VTDigger has created a safe zone for readers who wish to engage in a thoughtful discussion on a range of subjects. We hope you join the conversation.

Privacy policy
Sort by:   newest | oldest | most voted
Bob Zeliff
4 years 10 months ago
Ms Shouldice chooses to use out of state info from the NFIB that some where in the US, the exchanges will cost more. She does this when she and the rest of Vermonter have better information , specific to Vermont, that clearly indicates it will lower cost overall and especially for small group and individuals. See Act 48 Integration Report, p38 Table 1. We must remember that the Exchange was added to the Affordable Care Act as a compromise to the Insurance Industry, to allow them to compete in a fair and open market place. The Affordable Care Act evan… Read more »
Jed Guertin
4 years 10 months ago
Here we go again! The NFIB National, NFIB/VT and Shawn Shouldice are gearing up for the 2012 elections in concert with NFIB National just like 2010. Watch every State NFIB organization tweak State issues to try and meet the NFIBNational/Republican mantra. Did I say Republican mantra, well in 2010, 95% Of NFIB’s political donations went to Republican candidates. But NFIB swears there is no bias in their campaign funding. In 2010 I wrote an opinion piece on the NFIB. I still stand by the facts I presented then. If you want to know a little about the NFIB, things that… Read more »
4 years 10 months ago
Mr. Zeliff: There is Vermont-evidence of the rate shock Ms. Shouldice describes, and it’s in the very chart to which you refer (Table 1, p. 38). Table 1 reports that rates for small businesses (<50) purchasing their insurance thru Associations (such as Vermont Business for Social Responsibility, the VT Grocers, BRS, etc) would see an 18.4% increase in their rates due to the H. 599 proposal to combine all individuals and all small groups into a single pool. The small groups purchasing directly from carriers would see a slight decrease, as you note. However, those buying from Associations would see… Read more »
Bob Zeliff
4 years 10 months ago
There you go again…telling half the story again. Those in associations with good demographics/low risk have benefited lower rates. Those associations with more risk do not enjoy the same low rates. Not all in associations will see the 18% rate increase as you suggest. The Vermont implementation of the Exchange will include a broad community rating to more evenly spread the risks. This will result in a small group rate decrease of 8.4%. not so slight! But more importantly, a point you omit totally, individuals will see their rates go down substantially, 12.4%. There are 110,000 individuals, this is a… Read more »
Craig Powers
4 years 10 months ago

Sure seems to me that the individuals will be benefiting at the expense of small businesses in the Association plans. Cost shift, you bet! …but again it’s not your money…so why do you care?

Bob Zeliff
4 years 10 months ago
I would call it a cost leveling. Those in high risk businesses, example, farming logging would see their rates go down. Others in low risk jobs would go up. This is the definition of broad community rating…ie all Vermonters not just cherry picking the low risk groups. Seems fair to me. Remember as I said, the Affordable Care Act will also provide grants,etc to help low and moderate income people to afford care or better care than the can now. This will allow people who did not have insurance before to get it or get better insurance. When the Insurance… Read more »
4 years 10 months ago

The House passed a good bill yesterday – but we started the session with a great bill.

The current employer-sponsored insurance system is going away. The double-digit increases every year are unsustainable; business leaders and workers are paying more and more for less and less. The system is a burden on our business community, restraining job and wage growth.

Vermont’s plans to cover all residents with a basic health benefit package and to decouple insurance from employment will finally give the business community the freedom to succeed.

walter carpenter
4 years 10 months ago
“Cost shift, you bet! …but again it’s not your money…” As if we do not have a gigantic cost shift now under the current non-system. It is called “to allow them to compete in a fair and open market place.” Bob, thanks much for your posts. I always enjoy reading them. I wonder, though, if what the insurance companies want is to complete in a fair and open market. They seem to want more monopolies than competition. The exchanges were just a way to get around real reform. Still, vermont has wanted to do its best by them, which the… Read more »
Dave Bellini
4 years 10 months ago
THE GOOD: Cutting out “middlemen” and reducing administrative waste. Bringing healthcare to people that can’t afford to receive treatment. Changing the delivery of care from the current fee for service model. Possible elimination of some duplicative services. THE BAD: Telling citizens important plan details AFTER the election. If it was all good news we’d have already been informed. Might cost middle class Vermonters currently with insurance more money to have less of a benefit. Reliance on federal money is like making plans based on only good weather and sunshine. THE UNKNOWN: The cost or the most important details of the… Read more »
Kathy Callaghan
4 years 10 months ago
Kudos to Jeannie Keller for getting it right, as usual, and bringing the potential 18.4% rate increase to the forefront. Once again, if the Exchange plans are that comprehensive and affordable, people will flock to them on a voluntary basis. There is no justification for the State to take away Vermont businesses’ freedom of choice on how they spend their health care dollars. The Feds designed the Exchange to provide as much freedom of choice as possible; as many options as possible; a health care shopping website to compare available plans and costs, and then make one’s decision. What part… Read more »
Thanks for reporting an error with the story, "NFIB: House “ignores” concerns of small business"