first_imgby Anne Galloway, www.vtdigger.org(link is external) April 27, 2011 In a historic vote on Tuesday, the Vermont Legislature created the enabling legislation for a first-in-the-nation universal health care system. The state Senate approved the visionary plan for a single-payer system in a 21-9 vote after four hours of debate. The split was largely along party lines.Gov. Peter Shumlin, a Democrat, campaigned on a promise to create a single-payer system in Vermont that would contain health care costs and give all of the state’s residents universal access to medical care. On Tuesday, Shumlin made good on the first step toward fulfilling that promise, and just five hours after the Senate vote, he marked the legislative victory in an appearance on MSNBC’s ‘The Rachel Maddow Show.’Shumlin said in a statement to the Vermont press: ‘Today the Legislature took a huge step toward making Vermont the first state in the first in the nation to control skyrocketing health care costs and remove the burden of providing health care coverage from small business owners. This bill is good for Vermonters and Vermont businesses.Many Vermont businesses, however, believe otherwise. Though small employers have said they will benefit, some larger employers actively lobbied against the bill. Opponents of H.202 argued that the legislation would leave businesses in the lurch during the transition period between 2013 and 2014 when the state is required under federal law to participate in insurance exchanges. The opposition was led by insurance brokers (the Fleischer Jacobs Group, Business Resource Specialists), business associations (Vermont Chamber of Commerce, Vermont Grocers Association and Vermont Retailers Association), large employers (Dealer.com, Biotek, Rhino Foods and IBM). The Senate debate on Monday and Tuesday centered on changes to the legislation that would have made it more palatable to these groups.Sen. Vince Illuzzi, R/D-Essex Orleans, who proposed two amendments that would have made the bill more business friendly, said companies are afraid ‘we will end up with a plan most won’t be able to afford.’The legislation sets the state’s health care system on a new trajectory. Instead of continuing to use an insurance model for covering the cost of care, the bill moves the state toward an integrated payment system that would be controlled by a quasi judicial board and administered by a third party entity. The system would be funded through a broad-based tax.The universal health care system would be implemented in 2014, if it clears 10 very high hurdles, including the receipt of a federal waiver. Otherwise it wouldn’t kick in until 2017.Longtime single-payer advocate Dr. Deb Richter was ecstatic about the Senate passage of the bill.‘I’m absolutely thrilled,’ Richter said. ‘It’s one of the best days of my life. I’ve given 400 speeches over the last 10 years and it feels like the work was worth it. We have a ways to go, but this is a step in the right direction.’A universal health care system is the only way to cover everyone and contain costs, Richter said.The passage of H.202 marks the first time any state in the country has attempted to provide universal care and a cost containment system that addresses administrative costs, hospital budgeting and uniform payments to doctors, Richter said.Whether the federal government will give Vermont a waiver to adopt a universal health care system in 2014 is an open question. Richter said the state has a 50-50 chance of getting the exemption from the Affordable Care Act. Even so, she believes Vermont’s attempt to create a single-payer system is worthwhile.‘You go for what you want, not for what you think you might get ‘ that’s what the bill does,’ Richter said.The Senate debate focused on the state’s implementation of the insurance exchanges that are required under federal law. The Affordable Care Act has mandated that states provide an actuarial value for insurance products (the insurance equivalent of a per unit price mechanism that allows consumers to compare the cost of on the shelf grocery items). The federal government has set up very general guidelines for the actuarial levels for insurance products insurers must provide under the exchange. The idea is to create an easy system for comparison between health insurance benefit plans that offer a dizzying array of deductibles, co-insurance, co-pays and premiums. The products, under the federal requirements, range from bronze (60 percent actuarial value) to silver (70 percent), gold (80 percent) and platinum (90 percent). It also puts minimum requirements on the ‘qualifying plans.’ Many of these mandates are already in Vermont law. Insurers, for example, are not allowed to ‘cherry pick’ consumers who are healthy and create pools without a cross-section of the sick and healthy populations.Read this summary of the ACA requirements from Kaiser Foundation.The Affordable Care Act requires individuals without insurance to buy into the exchange or face a $695 fine. Families of four with incomes of less than $88,700 qualify for tax credits. Businesses with more than 50 employees that do not buy insurance face a penalty of $2,000 per worker.The fight between employers and proponents of H.202 was about the potential for mandatory inclusion of businesses that have between 50 and 100 workers in the exchange. Sen. Hinda Miller, D-Chittenden, and Illuzzi argued that requiring companies of that size to participate in the exchange could jeopardize their economic viability. Employers in that range tend not to self-insure and so are not protected under the Employee Retirement Income Security Act.The federal law allows states some flexibility. States can decide what benefit plan levels can be offered, for example. They can also determine the size of the businesses that must be included in the exchange. The Shumlin administration pushed for intent language in the bill that could have led to the inclusion of businesses with 50 to 100 employees into the exchange. Proponents of H.202 have said it’s important to include these 28,000 workers in the state’s insurance exchange in order to build toward a single-payer system.An amendment proposed by Sen. Diane Snelling, R-Chittenden, and approved by the Senate struck the intent language. The Green Mountain Care board, which will oversee the health care reform effort including the exchanges, is charged with producing a report that would outline the impact of excluding the 50-100 employee group on the exchange, which the Shumlin administration wants to use as a stepping stone toward the single-payer system.Illuzzi proposed two amendments that would have forced the state to include a broader array of insurance carriers in the exchange would have specifically allowed health savings accounts and high deductible plans under the exchange and would have allowed ‘nonqualified’ plans outside the exchange. H.202 allows for two carriers.‘Let’s not kid ourselves it will be more than one carrier,’ Illuzzi said on the Senate floor. ‘It will likely be Blue Cross Blue Shield. It will be two carriers in name only. Both will be required to offer same (plans). It will be a change without a difference.’Anya Rader Wallack, Shumlin’s special assistant on health care, said she was impressed by the Legislature.‘A lot of people worked very hard educating themselves in a short period of time,’ Wallack said. ‘This isn’t simple stuff. I was impressed with the amount of effort both bodies have put into this.’The Shumlin administration was heavily involved in drafting the bill, H.202, though by the time the legislation reached final passage it had changed somewhat from its original incarnation, which was based in part on recommendations from Professor William Hsiao, the renowned Harvard economist who created a single payer system for Taiwan.Over the next year, the Shumlin administration will hire a director of health care reform and the chair of a quasi-judicial board. The board would be in place by January of 2012 and would begin the arduous task of sorting through the maze of federal laws, waivers, benefits, provider reimbursements, system financing and cost containment options.H.202 will be read in the House Health Care Committee on Wednesday morning. Rep. Mark Larson, D-Burlington, said he expects the bill will go to conference committee in several days. He expects to have no major beefs with the Senate version.‘The core composition of the bill remains identical to what passed in the House,’ Larson said. ‘There are differences between the two bills but they are things we can work out.’Larson said those details include a change in the dynamic of the board. ‘We want to make sure it’s an independent board.’He also referred to the so-called ‘Mullin’ amendment, which set conditions for implementation of Green Mountain Care, the single-payer style system that would be created under H.202. Larson said he thinks the new criteria for the implementation standards need to be more clearly defined.‘It has to be clear what hurdle has to be overcome,’ Larson said.Anne Galloway is editor of vtdigger.orglast_img read more


first_imgGoalkeeper Joe Hart is determined not to let Manchester City’s season end with a whimper. City now seem unlikely to retain their title having fallen six points behind Chelsea, who have a game in hand, while they were ousted from the Champions League by a far superior Barcelona side on Wednesday. But Hart is not ready to concede defeat to Chelsea yet and insists City, who host West Brom on Saturday, still have a lot to play for. The 27-year-old said: “I will never give up, ever, and I could safely say that nobody in our dressing room will ever give up either. We will see where that takes us. “West Brom is a huge game and we turn our focus to that. We have no excuse not to throw everything at the Premier League now and give our all – to the fans, the owner, to everyone. “Every game is a must-win now. We have no time to lick our wounds, we have to fly into that game. “We have to win every game, and that is how we will go into it, and see where it takes us. “We have had a few knocks this season, but we have proved it time and time again, and so have our fans, that we come back and we keep fighting.” City’s recent form has brought heavy criticism of the team and manager Manuel Pellegrini, who could now be facing a fight to keep his job. Press Association The England number one has made a rallying call to his team-mates in the hope of sparking a charge through the closing games of the year. City’s campaign has fallen apart in 2015 with a run of three wins in 12 games costing them heavily in the Barclays Premier League, FA Cup and in Europe. But Hart, who was outstanding in Wednesday’s 1-0 loss at the Nou Camp, believes all the negativity coming the team’s way is only par for the course and is not overly concerned. He said: “That’s part of being at Man City. We all get talked about. I have been the worst keeper in the world recently and Vinny (Kompany) has been the worst defender in the world. “We have all had our moment. That’s the role of being at Man City. If we don’t win we are going to get slaughtered.” It has also been suggested the squad needs a shake-up in the summer but Hart continues to back his current team-mates. He said: “We have nine games left with his fantastically talented squad. We have a lot of tired legs but we have players to come in. They are good players. They can freshen us up. I think we have what we need.” last_img read more


first_img Gauselmann Group acquires majority stake in Bede Gaming March 12, 2020 StumbleUpon Michael BradyUpdating the market, industry platform supplier Bede Gaming will enter the South African online gambling market has entered a new partnership casino and leisure operator Sun International.Agreeing terms, Bede will become the lead technology platform supplier for Sun International’s online gambling subsidiary Sunbet brand (sunbet.co.za).Seeking to become the leading destination for South African online gambling consumers, Sun International has undertaken a technology restructure of its existing Sunbet supplier provisions.This November Sun International confirmed that Kambi would act as lead ‘end-to-end’ sportsbook platform supplier, integrating its market services within Bede Gaming’s backend technology platform.Updating stakeholders Anthony Leeming, CE, of Sun International, remarked: “To leverage in the digital environment we require a flexible platform that will allow us to deliver the world-class experience which our customers expect.”“For this reason, it was an easy decision to partner with Bede Gaming, which has enjoyed significant success in other markets. The team has been a pleasure to work with and we are excited to continue working in partnership.”Bede Gaming CEO Michael Brady, was pleased to confirm a further regulated tier1 partnership, with an established casino & leisure operator in Sun International.Bede’s strong commercial momentum had been recognised in 2017, with the company indexing as a top 100 ‘Sunday Times TechTrack 100’ enterprise.“To enter the South African market with such a respected name as Sun International really underlines our commitment to grow Bede’s footprint in global regulated markets.” Brady details“We have been selected by Sun International because we offer a flexible platform and lightning fast integrations that have proven successful in multiple jurisdictions.“Operators are demanding greater speed and flexibility, which is something we are able to deliver. We look forward to building a long and mutually beneficial relationship with Sun International, and will continue to build upon our market-leading offer.” Submit Share SBC’s Year In Review: September’s big betting news December 27, 2019 Share Related Articles UK betting faces crossfire of educational data breach January 20, 2020last_img read more


first_img UKGC launches fourth National Lottery licence competition August 28, 2020 Camelot aims for ‘Big September’ supporting a high street recovery August 26, 2020 2020 will see a battle of titanic egos and high stakes take place, as the UK Gambling Commission (UKGC) launches its tender to operate the fourth National Lottery contract from 2023.Monitoring early developments, UK media has branded the National Lottery tender as one of 2020’s most intriguing business narratives, as incumbent Camelot defends its position against hostile competitors seeking to end its 25-year reign.This weekend, The Daily Telegraph reported that billionaire Sir Richard Branson – founder and chairman of Virgin -would enter UKGC proceedings by launching his third attempt to secure the National Lottery.Riding champion stud Desert Orchid to Parliament in 1994, Branson launched his first ‘People’s Lottery’ campaign promising to ‘return all profits to charity’.The People’s Lottery bid would be declined by the Major Conservative government, who would back the formation of a ‘Camelot operating vehicle’ formed by ICL, Racal Electronics, Cadbury Schweppes and De La Rue in partnership with GTech as lead lottery systems supplier.Branson would contest the National Lottery’s second tender in 2000 by re-launching the ‘People’s Lottery’ bid, this time re-energised by the support of Compaq Microsoft and Kellogg’s.However, an acrimonious bid against Camelot would be rejected by the Blair Labour government, which in its review underlined that the People’s Lottery had failed to demonstrate the hardware capacity capable of running a national lottery retail network – a factor Branson deemed as foul play by Camelot backers.Having won back-to-back contracts in 1994, 2001 and 2009, securing the 2020 National Lottery tender will be Camelot’s biggest challenge to date, having faced recent political and media backlash regarding its fundraising and operations.In 2018, a Public Accounts Committee (PAC) report detailed that National Lottery funding for good causes had fallen by 15%, despite Camelot increasing yearly profits by £39 million.Furthermore, Camelot has been criticised for placing too much emphasis on its scratch card inventory, whilst its attempts to revive the National Lottery main draw were criticised by players for adding a further 10 balls to the format, which in turn inflated the odds of hitting jackpots and increased the number of weekly roll-overs.Taking the fight to Camelot, newspaper tycoon Richard Desmond has instructed his Northern & Shell publishing group to launch a tech-savvy bid for the National Lottery in 2020.The outspoken billionaire criticised the government for allowing Camelot to maintain its position as lead lottery operator when the company was sold to The Ontario Teachers’ Pension Fund in 2010 for £390 million.Desmond maintains that the National Lottery should be operated by the British business stakeholders, rather than as an investment asset for a Canadian pension. Furthermore, in 2012 Camelot lost its UK High Court appeal against Northern & Shell, after challenging the UK publishers lottery format Health Lottery.Securing interest beyond British shores, further parties reported to be developing bids include Dutch lottery incumbent Novamedia BV, the operator of European Postcode Lotteries and a restructured Czech gambling conglomerate SAZKA Group, which this summer secured a majority stake in Greek operator OPAP.Entering 2020, the UK business community waits for the UKGC to publish its tender framework, in which the regulator will be supported by investment bank Rothschilds, auditor EY, management consultancy Deloitte and Law firm Hogan Lovells – four companies appointed to run the bidding process. StumbleUpon Related Articles Share Share Submit National Lottery Community Fund issues £14m in Climate Action grants August 24, 2020last_img read more