Committee proposes changes to health care reform board construct

first_imgby Anne Galloway April 11, 2011 A director of health care reform would orchestrate the state’s fledgling effort to adopt a single-payer system, if a draft proposal from the Senate Health and Welfare Committee is adopted. Read the 80-page draft legislation.The director would answer to the secretary of the Agency of Administration and would be responsible for development of a financing plan as part of the coordination of the governor’s signature health care reform initiative. In addition, a deputy commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access would be hired to provide support for the Green Mountain Care board.Sen. Anthony Pollina, D-Washington, who supports the addition of full-time personnel to the effort, says lawmakers will also consider whether to isolate the board from the development of the proposals for benefit packages, ground rules for hospital reimbursement rates, a financing system and cost containment strategies. Pollina would like to see a separation of powers, in which the board plays a quasi-judicial role and does not, as proposed in the House bill, get involved in developing the proposals for benefits, reimbursements and financing. The board, instead, would have the authority to rule on those issues. He said two new staffers and the chair of the board, along with employees from the Department of Vermont Health Access and the Department of Banking, Insurance, Security and Health Care Administration would develop the proposals, while the board would make judicial decisions about the merits of the proposals for rate requests from insurers and hospitals, among other things.‘It (the new board proposal) creates more accountability and better protection of the public interest,’ Pollina said.Both of these positions are add-ins proposed as amendments to the House version of the health care reform bill, H.202. The Green Mountain Care board remains a five-member entity under the Senate version of the bill with a chair and four members. In the House bill, the member positions were ‘part-time.’ That language, which was roundly criticized, was removed from the legislation. There is now no stipulation as to the number of hours a member can work.The nine-member nominating committee for the board would include two members appointed by the governor, two by the Senate and two by the House (’not all of whom shall be members of the same party’). In addition the governor, the House Speaker and the Senate President Pro Tempore would each select a health care ‘expert’ to serve on the nominating committee.The Senate committee has also changed the composition of the Medicaid advisory committee that will report to the Green Mountain Care board. The committee language now cites a requirement that three insurers be included on the committee.Health and Welfare is discussing the draft bill on Monday and is expected to vote it out of committee on Tuesday.  Anne Galloway is editor of vtdigger.orglast_img read more