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Vermont Employers Testify on Health Care Reform Proposal

By Pat Bradley

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/wamc/local-wamc-1002617.mp3

Montpelier, VT – The House Health Care and Senate Health and Welfare committees took testimony during a public hearing Wednesday night at the Statehouse. The committees are reviewing health care reform legislation, and this hearing sought employer input on the bill. Vermont House Speaker Shap Smith says the comments expressed the wide ranging concerns many Vermont businesses have regarding the health care debate.

How quickly the state should advance reform is a concern for business. Many testifying at the public hearing appeared to favor a go-slow approach. Business Resource Services Executive Director Tom McKeown says businesses must have options.

Some small business owners talked about struggling with rapid increases in the cost of health insurance. Employers' Health Alliance promotes "evidence-based" health care reform. Managing Director Craig Fuller says the Legislature should enact the federal Affordable Care Act.

Vermont Campaign for Health Care Security Coordinator Peter Sterling said almost no-one believes the current system works and want something different, but many are uncomfortable with proposals for Health Care Exchanges.

The legislative health committees are continuing to take testimony on various aspects of the bill this week.