Shumlin forms business council to advise on single payer financing

April 08, 2013


Posted By Andrew Stein On April 8, 2013 @ 10:17 pm

Last week, Gov. Peter Shumlin created a 20-member business council to advise him on financing a publicly funded health care system.

“It is to ensure that single payer is implemented as the governor plans in a timely way in 2017, with all risks to the Vermont economy identified, considered and managed,” said Lawrence Miller, Shumlin’s secretary of Commerce and Community Development.

In January 2011, a few months before the Vermont Legislature passed Act 48, which set the state on a path towards implementing a single-payer health care system, lawmakers received a report from William Hsiao, a Harvard economist. Hsiao recommended an 11 percent payroll tax on businesses [2] to fund a large portion of the system, which left many employers up in arms.

The Shumlin administration’s so-called financing plan [3]for such a system released this year called for roughly $1.6 billion in public funds, but did not specify where they would come from.

The “Governor’s Business Advisory Council on Health Care Financing,” as it is called, is charged with helping the governor and the administration determine where those dollars should come from. The council, Miller said, is “pragmatic.”

“It’s not a question of opening the door to something we don’t intend to do,” he said. “It’s how do we intend to get the first single-payer system in the country up and running?”

The advisory council will meet with the governor and his top leadership team behind closed doors, but Miller said that major funding structures would be developed in the public eye.

“These meetings are aired so that the governor gets fully candid advice,” he said. “Rather than having abstract conversations about trade-offs, you actually have people in the room who will be impacted by those processes and can provide feedback. It doesn’t mean they’ll have a decision. This is not a decision body; this is a discovery and advisory council.”

The administration hopes the council, which was created by a governor order, will meet before the end of the month.

David Coates will chair the council. He heads the Vermont Long Term Disaster Recovery Group [4] and is a former partner of KPMG LLP, the auditing firm.

The council’s first task is to give the administration business feedback on Vermont Health Connect [5], the web-based exchange that is set to become Vermont’s sole health insurance marketplace for individuals and small business employees in 2014.

In addition to Coates, the other 19 members of the council are:

• Steve Voigt of King Arthur Flower

• Sarah Byers of Leonardo’s Pizza

• Andrew Brewer of Onion River Sports

• Ernie Pomerleau of Pomerleau Real Estate

• Winn Smith of Sugarbush Resort

• Bob Britt, former CFO of SB Electronics

• Barbara Grimes of Burlington Electric

• Tom Torti of the Lake Champlain Chamber of Commerce

• Lisa Ventriss of the Vermont Business Roundtable

• Paul Millman of Chroma

• Ken Perine of the National Bank of Middlebury

• Larry Cassidy, board member for Windham and Windsor Housing Trust

• John Valente of Ryan, Smith, and Carbine, Ltd

• Don Mayer of Small Dog Electronics

• Janet Bombardier of IBM

• Bram Kleppner of Danforth Pewter

• Kerry O’Brien of Commando

• Tim Briglin of Tuckerman Capital

• Dimitri Garder of Global-Z

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[2] Hsiao recommended an 11 percent payroll tax on businesses:

[3] financing plan :

[4] Vermont Long Term Disaster Recovery Group:

[5] Vermont Health Connect: