Governor Signs Health Care Bills Into Law

first_imgH. 887 and S. 283 build on the groundbreaking reforms included inHealth Care Affordability Acts of 2006, including the new Catamount HealthPlans and  Governor Douglas’ forward-thinking Blueprint for Health, which is helping Vermont lead the nation in efforts to change our health care systemto one focused on preventing illness and complications, rather than reacting tohealth emergencies.  Governor Douglas will highlighted innovative wellnessprograms, such as Milton CAT’s, that are following the Blueprint model. Richmond, Vt. – (June 10, 2008) Governor JimDouglas visited Milton CAT, a business with an award-winning worksite wellnessprogram, to sign two health care bills into law.  The Governor was joined bylegislators, advocates, insurance representatives and others as he signed H.887 and S. 283. GovernorSigns Health Care Bills Into LawHighlights Wellness Efforts at Richmond Business;Urges More Vermonters to Enroll in Green MountainCare Jason GibbsGovernor’sCommunications Director109 State Street ¨ The Pavilion ¨ Montpelier,VT 05609-0101 ¨ www.vermont.gov/governor(link is external)Telephone: 802.828.3333 ¨ Fax: 802.828.3339 ¨ TDD: 802.828.3345 While not as sweeping as the 2006 Health Care Affordability Act, thetwo bills the Governor signed today are significant next steps in improving thecost and quality of our health care system.  Among other provisions, thelegislation:increases access to Catamount Health for more Vermonters by alleviating some of the pre-existing condition concerns and by allowing people with high deductible individual market plans to purchase Catamount Health Plans without having to be uninsured for 12 months;relaxes the 75 percent rule for small businesses so they can continue to offer coverage even when their employee situations change;enhances the focus on chronic care and prevention at the local and community level, with a special focus on healthy weight and obesity;provides increased support for health care providers and takes further steps to promote the use of cost-saving information technology;moves forward with initiatives that encourage Vermonters to make healthier lifestyle choices; andworks to improve immunization coverage rates among the youngest children in Vermont and reduce the likelihood that children will acquire or spread a vaccine-preventable disease. Milton CAT was the recipient of a Vermont Governor’s Council 2007Gold Award for Work Site Wellness, Physical Fitness & Sports.  At the startof each workday, employees of this Caterpillar equipment dealer do a 10 minutestretch routine led by their supervisors.  An annual Health Risk Assessmentchecks employees’ blood pressure and body composition.  Wellness Coaches,USAprovides weekly confidential health counseling.  And the Milton CAT corporateoffice launched a “Biggest Loser” contest among its 12 sites toencourage healthy weight loss.  The Richmondsite winner lost 50 pounds. The Governor also noted that H.887 increases access to Catamount Healthfor more Vermonters and urged interested residents to enroll. “H.887alleviates some of the pre-existing condition concerns within the CatamountPlans and provides an amnesty window for pre-existing conditions for people whoenroll in Catamount between today and November 1, 2008.  So if you wereconcerned about enrolling because you have a pre-existing condition that mightnot be covered –call 1-800-250-8427 to enroll now.” ### “I first heard about MiltonCAT’s efforts last year when we presented them with a Governor’sCouncil on Physical Fitness and Sports Worksite Wellness Gold Award,”said Governor Douglas.   “These awards honor people and programs thathelp contain health care costs and promote healthy behavior and diseaseprevention.   When we were thinking about a location for the bill signingstoday – bills that continue to move Vermont down the path toward controlling thegrowth in health care costs and encouraging wellness initiatives – wethought this would be a perfect fit.”last_img