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Shumlin And Scott Remain Hopeful Trump Will Honor 'All-Payer' Deal

State and Federal officials signed an agreement in September that will allow Vermont to switch to an "all-payer" payment method for health care. Gov. Peter Shumlin and Gov.-elect Phil Scott hope the new administration will honor the deal going forward.

Gov. Peter Shumlin says he's optimistic the administration of President-elect Donald Trump will support the state's new health care payment reform plan known as "all-payer." 

Shumlin says the effort to reduce the growth rate of health care spending has the support of both Republican and Democratic governors.

In late September,state and federal officials signed an agreement that allows Vermont to make a dramatic change in the way that health care is paid for in the state.

The idea is to shift away from the current system, known as "fee-for-service" which reimburses the health care system for every procedure and test that's done, and move towards a system that rewards positive health care outcomes and emphasizes primary care services.

Gov. Peter Shumlin says it's critical to adopt a new payment reform plan because health care costs under the current system are totally unsustainable.

"Everybody gets that if health care costs keep rising faster than our incomes we're never going to achieve the kind of prosperity that the middle class is so frustrated at not having been delivered on," Shumlin says.

Vermont Is Moving Toward 'All-Payer' Health Care. Here's What That Means

And Shumlin is convinced that the all-payer approach is supported by a bi-partisan group of governors.

"Both Republican and Democratic governors understand that if we can move from a system that charges for quantity fee-for-service to one where we get better health care outcomes and bend that ever-rising cost curve, we all win," he says.

The agreement with the federal government allows either party to opt out of the deal with six months notice. Shumlin thinks there's a good chance that the Trump Administration will be interested in pursuing this approach.

"I think you're going to see quite likely a President Trump want to continue to experiment with more effective ways of paying for health care that improves quality and reduce quantity." — Gov. Peter Shumlin

"I think you're going to see quite likely a President Trump want to continue to experiment with more effective ways of paying for health care that improves quality and reduce quantity," Shumlin says. "And I'm optimistic that it's a bi-partisan effort."

The all-payer model does have bi-partisan support in Vermont.

Republican Governor-elect Phil Scott is also urging the Trump administration to give this payment reform plan a chance.

"I hope that they don't pull the plug on something that was worked on apparently for a couple of years and has the support of many," Scott says.

State officials hope to implement the all-payer model over the next three years.

Bob Kinzel has been covering the Vermont Statehouse since 1981 — longer than any continuously serving member of the Legislature. With his wealth of institutional knowledge, he answers your questions on our series, "Ask Bob."
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