Gov. Shumlin wants to expand primary care access, improve Medicaid reimbursement rates in Vermont

January 05, 2015

Gov. Peter Shumlin says he'll unveil a major healthcare initiative designed to strengthen Vermont's primary care physician network. A second goal of the plan is to lower the cost of private health insurance premiums. The governor says his decision not to pursue a single-payer healthcare system doesn't mean he won't propose some key healthcare reform plans. One of these plans involves the Medicaid reimbursement rate that's paid to healthcare providers. In many cases, this rate represents less than 60% of the actual cost of the service. In order to make up the difference, these costs are shifted onto people who have private health insurance policies. It's estimated that between 15% and 20% of private premiums are due to the cost shift caused by Medicaid, Medicare and unpaid medical bills. Shumlin says this system has to be changed. Shumlin says boosting the Medicaid reimbursement rate will help reduce the cost shift and encourage more physicians to see Medicaid patients. Shumlin will make his recommendation on Medicaid funding at a time when the state faces a $100 million budget gap for next year.