- Associated Press - Thursday, April 2, 2015

MONTPELIER, Vt. (AP) - A Vermont House committee has approved about $20 million in both new and higher taxes to pay for increasing Medicaid provider payments and other health care-related items.

The Ways and Means Committee’s action significantly reduced the more than $50 million package passed by the House Health Care Committee. The money goes to toward the higher Medicaid payments that Gov. Peter Shumlin requested in January.

He says Vermont’s current Medicaid payments are so low they force health care providers to shift costs onto people with other types of insurance. Some of the money also will help Vermont Health Connect consumers pay out-of-pocket expenses.

The money is raised with a half-cent-per-ounce tax on a wide range of soft drinks, imposing the sales tax on dietary supplements and boosting the cigarette tax.

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