Governor Signs Health Care Bills Into Law

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Governor Signs Health Care Bills Into Law

Mon, 06/09/2008 - 8:00pm -- tim

Signs Health Care Bills Into Law
Highlights Wellness Efforts at Richmond Business;
Urges More Vermonters to Enroll in Green Mountain
Vt. – (June 10, 2008) Governor Jim
Douglas visited Milton CAT, a business with an award-winning worksite wellness
program, to sign two health care bills into law.  The Governor was joined by
legislators, advocates, insurance representatives and others as he signed H.
887 and S. 283.
H. 887 and S. 283 build on the groundbreaking reforms included in
Health Care Affordability Acts of 2006, including the new Catamount Health
Plans and  Governor Douglas’ forward-thinking Blueprint for Health, 
which is helping Vermont lead the nation in efforts to change our health care system
to one focused on preventing illness and complications, rather than reacting to
health emergencies.  Governor Douglas will highlighted innovative wellness
programs, such as Milton CAT’s, that are following the Blueprint model.
“I first heard about Milton
CAT’s efforts last year when we presented them with a Governor’s
Council on Physical Fitness and Sports Worksite Wellness Gold Award,”
said Governor Douglas.   “These awards honor people and programs that
help contain health care costs and promote healthy behavior and disease
prevention.   When we were thinking about a location for the bill signings
today – bills that continue to move Vermont down the path toward controlling the
growth in health care costs and encouraging wellness initiatives – we
thought this would be a perfect fit.”
The Governor also noted that H.887 increases access to Catamount Health
for more Vermonters and urged interested residents to enroll. “H.887
alleviates some of the pre-existing condition concerns within the Catamount
Plans and provides an amnesty window for pre-existing conditions for people who
enroll in Catamount between today and November 1, 2008.  So if you were
concerned about enrolling because you have a pre-existing condition that might
not be covered –call 1-800-250-8427 to enroll now.”
While not as sweeping as the 2006 Health Care Affordability Act, the
two bills the Governor signed today are significant next steps in improving the
cost and quality of our health care system.  Among other provisions, the

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;
works to improve
immunization coverage rates among the youngest children in Vermont and reduce
the likelihood that children will acquire or spread a vaccine-preventable

Milton CAT was the recipient of a Vermont Governor’s Council 2007
Gold Award for Work Site Wellness, Physical Fitness & Sports.  At the start
of each workday, employees of this Caterpillar equipment dealer do a 10 minute
stretch routine led by their supervisors.  An annual Health Risk Assessment
checks employees’ blood pressure and body composition.  Wellness Coaches,
provides weekly confidential health counseling.  And the Milton CAT corporate
office launched a “Biggest Loser” contest among its 12 sites to
encourage healthy weight loss.  The Richmond
site winner lost 50 pounds.
Jason Gibbs
Communications Director
State Street ¨ The Pavilion ¨ Montpelier,
VT 05609-0101 ¨
Telephone: 802.828.3333 ¨ Fax: 802.828.3339 ¨ TDD: 802.828.3345