- Associated Press - Saturday, June 27, 2015

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - A ruling this week by the U.S. Supreme Court has renewed calls from critics of Vermont Health Connect to abandon the state’s troubled health care exchange and move onto the federal exchange.

The Supreme Court’s decision Thursday in King v. Burwell, which ruled that those eligible for subsidies will receive them regardless of how states set up their exchanges, has led some state lawmakers to consider alternatives to Vermont Health Connect, Vermont Public Radio reported (http://bit.ly/1Hl0jw3 ).

Republican Lt. Gov Phil Scott said the exchange has had problems since its launch in 2013, but the court’s decision allows for the state to move to a different option.

“The response has always been, well if we do that, if we go to the federal exchange, or we go to an alternative, Vermonters will potentially lose their subsidies. And that’s not something that any of us wanted to see,” Scott said.

House Speaker Shap Smith announced plans earlier this week to meet with officials for a briefing on the progress with the exchange’s software fixes.

He said the Supreme Court’s decision has added more opportunities for Vermont lawmakers if the state exchange continues to have problems.

“For us, what it does is it gives us options if we are not able to make our state exchange work, and work in a financially sustainable way,” the Democrat said.

Officials with Vermont Health Connect this month touted the successful completion of a software upgrade for the exchange that will allow the state to process changes in customers’ insurance statuses more quickly.

Lawrence Miller, the chief of health care reform for Democratic Gov. Peter Shumlin’s administration, said it may be premature to eliminate the exchange after its infrastructure has cost more than $125 million to create.

He said the administration’s contingency planning will include the option of switching to the federal exchange.

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