Health Care

VPR's coverage of changes to Vermont's Health Care laws and systems. Follow Bob Kinzel on Twitter. Read the Vermont Health Care Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs).

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The Shumlin administration says it is "very confident" that a key function of the state's health care exchange will be working by the end of next month. The governor says he'll ask lawmakers to drop the state's exchange and move to a federal model if this deadline isn't met.

One major problem that has plagued Vermont Health Connect since it went into operation 18 months ago is the failure of the system to allow consumers to make online changes to information on their applications.

Audio for this story will be posted at approximately 11 a.m. on Monday, March 30

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Vermont’s online health insurance exchange has been beset with problems since its launch a year and a half ago. In a surprise announcement on Friday, Gov. Peter Shumlin said Vermont will abandon Vermont Health Connect if it doesn’t start working properly soon.

Porter Hospital

Many people in Addison County were saddened this week to learn of the unexpected death last Friday of Dr. Alan Ayer. Dr. Ayer attended the births of thousands of babies at Porter Hospital in Middlebury and was beloved for his kindness to patients over his many years of practice.

Beacon Press

The prevailing medical thought says that early detection is the key to finding and curing certain diseases. Other common medical assumptions include that it never hurts to get more information, it's always better to fix the problem and all risks can be lowered.

In his new book, "Less Medicine, More Health," Dr. Gilbert Welch of Dartmouth Medical School contends that these assumptions are creating a culture of too much medical care.

Taylor Dobbs / VPR

The Vermont Senate has voted to extend the state law that allows terminally ill people to request medication from their doctors to end their lives.

When lawmakers broke for Town Meeting recess last week, a key House committee looked poised to endorse a 2-cent per-ounce tax on soda and other sugar-sweetened beverages to pay for about $34 million in new health care reforms.

But the Shumlin administration has worked hard in the intervening days to remake the case for the governor’s payroll tax proposal. And a revised version of that payroll tax plan looks to have new life in the House Committee on Health Care.

I recently encountered a compelling question asked of one parent by another: “If my kid can’t bring peanuts to school, why should your kid be allowed to bring measles?”

Problems continue to plague Vermont Health Connect. The Shumlin administration says it will be at least another two months before an online, automated system is in place to allow consumers to make changes to their health care policies.

Peter Hirschfeld / VPR

Lawmakers are still trying to figure out if increasing Medicaid rates will help curb the cost of private health insurance. But doctors say there’s another important reason to boost payments for providing government-funded care. They’re worried that failure to address the Medicaid issue could create a physician shortage, and put independent practices out of business.

Angela Evancie / VPR/file

Gov. Peter Shumlin wants to raise $90 million in state revenues to pay for a wide ranging health care reform agenda. And while a key House committee is backing his push for new taxes, the House Committee on Health Care looks to be leaning toward a tax on sugar-sweetened beverages to raise the money, not the payroll tax preferred by Shumlin.

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