Expanding and Improving Health Care

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The Legislature’s health care committees are continuing to work on improvements to the state’s health care plans. Monday on Vermont Edition, the chairs of those committees, Sen. Doug Racine and Rep. Steven Maier, discuss whether lawmakers can reach a goal of insuring 96 percent of Vermonters while working within the constraints of a tight budget. (Listen)

Also on the program, we revisit the controversy over an old cemetery in
Hartland. A prospective land buyer says relocating the cemetery would allow him to build a home and preserve descendents’ access to the gravesites. (Listen)


Listener comments on health care:

Jason from South Londonderry:
This year we’ll earn around $45,000. We have Dr. Dynosaur and have qualified for VHAP on and off, as my business has has taken time to get off the ground. At $45,000 we won’t qualify for VHAP but [we also won’t be able to] cover insurance as well as cost of living. This is the crack that many slip through. My child will be covered, but either I cover myself and let bills slip, or run the risk of losing everything if I remain uninsured and something catastrophic happens. When will my tax dollars finally go to my very real need? Every year more us just above the poverty level slip farther away from stability.

India writes:
My husband and I are uninsured farmers and were looking forward to taking advantage of Catamount Health Assistance Program. We were denied coverage because our income was too high. This decision was based on our gross income, not our adjusted income. It seems like many small businesses could be denied coverage , when in fact the income available to cover household expenses is actually very low. Has this come up as an issue with how eligibility is determined?

Christina from Winooski:
Adults who have parents on state or federal health insurance cannot be covered up to age 24 because there is no Employer-Sponsored Insurance to join or maintain. As late as 1998, financial aid and stipends for graduate programs were counted as income for state health csre programs. I had to give up my dream of grad school at UVM because the stipend would have kicked me off VHAP, and I would have exhausted the benefits of the student plan at UVM in one month. On the shoestring budget grad school stipends provide for, I am unsure if I could afford $400 a month plus all co-payments for medication and medical services. I like the annual cap on out-of-pocket costs provision in Catamount, but for college students I believe it is still unaffordable.



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