With state budgets facing the crush of deficits, Vermont has decided to propose a medical provider tax on private practice dentists.
Vermont legislators are considering extending the state's healthcare provider tax to include dentists in an effort to address budget deficit issues. But the state dental association warns that it may be passed on to patients and could have a "chilling effect" on recruiting new dentists.
Gov. Peter Shumlin has proposed extending the tax -- now assessed on the net revenue of hospitals, nursing homes, and managed care companies -- to include dentists and insurance companies. The 3% tax on dentists' gross receipts of services would bring in about $6 million, which subsequently will add about $9 million from the federal government in additional Medicaid funds, he said.
Vermont is facing a $175 million budget deficit, and legislators are scrambling to find ways to generate more revenue rather than just cut services.
Vermont State Dental Society (VSDS) Executive Director Peter Taylor recently presented more than 4,500 signatures opposing the provider tax to state lawmakers. The cash-strapped state should go after more broad-based revenue, such as income tax, sales tax, or taxes on unhealthy products such as soda, he said.
Well, this tax will do nothing for private practice dentistry in Vermont. But, does the Vermont Legislature even care since there is a pilot mid-level dental provider project in the state?
I can understand the outrage of the Vermont dentists. But, from the state that has a independent/socialist as a United States Senator and having elected Howard Dean Governor, what do you really expect. It is not a good climate for private business anyway.
The state budget deficit is relatively small money-wise in this very small state. I wish the dentists good luck since the tax will have a chilling effect on private dentistry - but I don't really think the State of Vermont cares.
And, the win-win argument re: Medicaid by state legislators is a sham. It is simple redistribution from private dentistry to government sponsored dentistry.