April 8, 2021


American Rescue Plan cuts health insurance costs for thousands of Vermonters

A hospital bill from the University of Vermont Medical Center. Photo by Mike Dougherty/VTDigger

The American Rescue Plan will save millions of dollars for Vermonters who buy health insurance on the state exchange, according to officials. 

The newly enacted federal stimulus package dramatically expands access to tax credits that subsidize health insurance, effectively cutting the cost of health care for thousands of Vermont residents across nearly every income level.

“The big message I think for Vermonters is that this is a really good thing,” said Addie Strumolo, deputy commissioner for the Department of Vermont Health Access.

The law caps the

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‘False hopes’: Small business rescue faces crunch just days after Congress extended it

Now, some advocacy groups are warning that the funding lapse could leave thousands of small businesses on the sidelines and that Congress must spend billions more, particularly to help those that Biden promised to support with more generous loan terms implemented last month.

“This is unfair for the smallest businesses to be shut out in the final hours,” said Erik Asgeirsson, an executive with the American Institute of CPAs, which is calling for more PPP funding. “A lot of false hopes were raised.”

The sudden lurch into a new PPP funding discussion just after a debate on extending the application

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Senate overwhelmingly votes to extend small business rescue

Democrats and Republicans reached agreement relatively quickly over the last several days to keep the popular program open, after banks warned that loan applications were at risk of being stuck in a processing backlog created by new SBA fraud checks. The extension, backed by a wide array of trade groups, would also allow more employers to take advantage of new Biden administration rules designed to expand access to tiny businesses and others who struggled to obtain the loans previously.

“There’s no reason to let this program expire while there are scores of small businesses still in line and billions of

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Covid rescue package offers help for health insurance. Here’s how to get the most benefit

There’s something for everyone with private health insurance in the American Rescue Plan Act, but determining the best way to benefit may be confusing.

The $1.9 trillion Covid-19 relief law that President Joe Biden signed this month will make coverage significantly more affordable for millions of people who either who have marketplace coverage, are uninsured or have lost their employer coverage. In addition, it will eliminate repayment requirements for premium tax credits. Consumers can begin to see those improvements next month, but they may need to go to healthcare.gov and update their application for the changes to take effect then.

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House Extends Small-Business Rescue, With $93 Billion Still Left

Photographer: Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg

The U.S. House approved a two-month extension of a popular U.S. small-business rescue program that still has almost $93 billion left to distribute, giving companies until the end of May to apply for the forgivable loans.

The Paycheck Protection Program was initially set up a year ago as lockdowns stemming from the coronavirus paralyzed the American economy. Lawmakers expanded and extended it as the Covid-19 crisis continued.

The House voted 415-3 on a bill extending the PPP for two months from its current expiration date of March 31. The Senate is expected to also

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Restaurant rescue in covid relief package

Restaurants devastated by the pandemic are getting a lifeline from the relief package that’s awaiting final approval in the House. Restaurants can get grants equal to the amount of their revenue losses, up to a maximum of $10 million per company and $5 million per location. Eligible companies cannot own more than 20 locations, and they can’t be publicly traded.

Chevron has outlined a plan to expand oil and gas production through 2025, but without spending significantly more, and pledged to limit the pace of growth of its carbon emissions. Investors have been pressuring oil companies to hold spending flat

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