Legislative Update 6-1-20: Coronavirus Relief for the Health Care System

by Devon Green
Vice President of Government Relations

Last Week

Coronavirus $1.25 Billion Relief Fund: VAHHS updated the health care committees on the current financial status of Vermont’s hospitals, noting that while hospitals have received federal funding, the amount does not cover the Medicare advance payments that hospitals turned to at the beginning of the crisis to fund COVID-19 preparation. These are loans from the federal government with a 10.2 percent interest rate.  
Secretary Mike Smith testified about the importance of stabilizing Vermont’s health care system and referenced a $300 million figure. He noted that any funding would likely come with “strings” with the goal of furthering health care reform and ensuring low or no rate increases on health insurance premiums for Vermonters.
Suspension of deductible for preventive medications: The Department of Financial Regulations released an emergency rule on Friday that suspends deductibles for generic drugs classified as preventive medication as well as brand or biological drugs when the generic preventive medication is not available.
Resuming dental care: Vermont’s dental practices can begin non-urgent “aerosol-generating” procedures starting today, June 1 under the following guidance.  

This Week

Physician Assistant (PA) Licensure: Last week, the House Health Care Committee voted out S. 128, the PA Licensure bill. This week, it will go to the full House for a vote.