Appointment by House Speaker Smith to the Joint Legislative Health Care Commission Violates Act 128 (S.88)

Act 128 (S.88) calls on the Senate President Pro Tempore and the House Speaker each to appoint one non-voting member to the Joint Legislative Health Care Commission, which is responsible for recommending the consultant(s) who would design the healthcare systems called for in Act 128.

It also contains language that specifically disallows anyone from holding one of those two seats who might have a conflict due to a financial or other interest in a healthcare provider or insurer.

Unfortunately, Representative Smith's appointment of former Senator Jim Leddy, who is currently serving as president of the Vermont AARP and as a member of the health and long-term care committee of the national AARP policy council, violates this provision of Act 128, because AARP functions as an insurance provider and generates a significant portion of its revenue from the sale of health insurance.

Public confidence in the process of designing Vermont's new healthcare system is crucial to the success of this process. This is part of the reason for including conflict-of-interest language in Act 128.

Because this appointment threatens to undermine public confidence in the process called for in Act 128, we urge the House Speaker to rescind this appointment and make a choice that does not cast any doubt whatsoever on the process.