Vermont Business Magazine Vermont's political leaders reacted swiftly and with horror as the replacement bill for the Affordable Care Act (ObamaCare) was whisked through the US House Thursday. It now faces a showdown in the US Senate. Senator Patrick Leahy (D-Vermont) and Senator Bernie Sanders (I-Vermont) issued statements remarking on how Medicaid will be devastated and tens of millions will lose health insurance.
Leahy said in his statement: "This Trumpcare bill is a cruel and cynical hoax, played on millions upon millions of Americans who would lose all or some of their health insurance protections under this plan. From clumsy start to appalling finish, House Republicans have shown no shame in advancing a bill that, in truth, is intended to give a massive tax cut to the wealthiest Americans, in the guise of a health care plan. It’s only gotten worse as House leaders have had to bargain for votes."
"This hastily crafted bill was jammed through the House of Representatives with virtually no debate, substantive hearings or even a budget score to tally its price and its devastating effects on the families who would lose their health insurance under this legislative monstrosity. The American people -- and even those who voted for this -- have no idea how much this Trumpcare bill will cost, yet we do know that it will eviscerate vital insurance protections for people with pre-existing conditions, kick more than 20 million Americans off their health insurance, and mandate devastating cuts to Medicaid."
"I will do all I can to prevent Senate action on this disastrous plan, or on anything that comes close to it."
Sanders (I-Vt.) released the following statement:
"The bill that Republicans passed today is an absolute disaster. It really has nothing to do with health care. It has everything to do with an enormous shift of wealth from working people to the richest Americans. This bill would throw 24 million people off of health insurance – including thousands of Vermonters – cut Medicaid by $880 billion, defund Planned Parenthood and substantially increase premiums on older Americans. Meanwhile, it would provide a $300 billion tax break to the top 2 percent and hundreds of billions more to the big drug and insurance companies that are ripping off the American people. Our job now is to rally millions of Americans against this cruel bill to make sure that it does not pass the Senate. Instead of throwing tens of millions of people off of health insurance, we must guarantee health care as a right to all."
Congressman Peter Welch said via Facebook: "Today was a dark day in the history of the United States Congress. By a vote of 217-213, the House of Representatives voted to take away health coverage from 24 million Americans, gut protections for people with preexisting conditions, raise premiums for those approaching retirement, take money from Medicare, and give a tax cut to the wealthiest Americans. I am hopeful the Senate will scrap this trash and start from scratch. Going forward, I will be working on bipartisan ideas to make the Affordable Care Act work better for Vermonters and all Americans."
Republican Governor Phil Scott said at his weekly press conference Thursday afternoon: "I still have grave concerns for what this means for Vermont." He said that while he hasn't seen the details of the bill passed earlier Thursday, indications are that, "It will be detrimental to Vermont."
Meanwhile, Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services Administrator Seema Verma, who was appointed by President Trump, praised the legislation:
"Today is the first of what I am confident will be many historic days ahead as we move toward patient-centered healthcare instead of government-centered healthcare.
"I have worked in the field of Medicaid for 20 years and have heard from many mothers like myself who have shared their struggles and their hopes for a more affordable, more sustainable healthcare system. It is important that our most vulnerable citizens, the aged, the infirm, the blind and the disabled have more choices, greater access and peace of mind when it comes to their healthcare.
"The bill that was passed today is a great first step achieving this goal."
Source: Leahy, Sanders, CMS. 5.4.2017