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Saturday, March 5, 2011

Vermont Universal Health Care to Embrace Workers Compensation

A two-stage bill in Vermont is geared to establishing a single-payer medical health care system that would include medical for workers' compensation claims.

The legislation " proposes to set forth a strategic plan for creating a single payer and unified health system. It would establish a board …. ; establish a health benefit exchange for Vermont as required under federal health care reform laws; create a public-private single payer health care system to provide coverage for all Vermonters after receipt of federal waivers.”

The plan proposes covering all workers' compensation claims:

"(3) To the extent allowable under federal law, the Vermont health benefit exchange may offer health benefits to employees for injuries arising out of or in the course of employment in lieu of medical benefits provided pursuant to chapter 9 of Title 21 (workers’ compensation)."
"(c) If the Vermont health benefit exchange is required by the secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services to contract with more than one health insurer, the Vermont health benefit exchange shall determine the appropriate method to provide a unified, simplified claims administration, benefit management, and billing system for any health insurer offering a qualified health benefit plan. The Vermont health benefit exchange may offer this service to other health insurers, workers’ compensation insurers, employers, or other entities in order to simplify administrative requirements for health benefits."

Nationally, advocates to improve the delivery of medical benefits to injured workers have urged federalization of the medical delivery system into a single payer approach through universal health care. The proposed Vermont single payer system is a unified state approach to the co-ordinated delivery of medical care.