Vermont Leaders Unite, Oppose GOP Health Care Bill

MONTPELIER, Vt. – It’s was an unusual sight Monday at the Vermont Statehouse, politicians from all sides of the political spectrum gathered in one room to denounce the GOP health care bill being considered in the U.S. Senate.

“For us to make such a drastic change in a short period of time with a lot of unknowns is something we cannot endure,” said Governor Phil Scott, R- Vermont.

Scott says under the proposed reductions to Medicaid, Vermont would be left with a budget deficit and 51,000 Vermonters could potentially lose health insurance.

“We will have to make impossibly difficult choices here, we are going to have to potentially cut services, and we are potentially going to have to change eligibility… These actually impact people’s lives,” said Senate President Tim Ashe, D/P- Vermont.

Senate republicans are looking to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act which made Medicaid more accessible. The new bill would restructure the entire program, limiting the amount of funding to each state.

“I think it immoral in the most wealthiest and powerful nation on earth to pass something to fit a bumper sticker slogan… It is wrong and I will not vote for it,” said Senator Patrick Leahy, D- Vermont.

“It is far from perfect, deductibles are too high, premiums are too high, and co-payments are too high… Our job today is to improve the affordable care act,” said Senator Bernie Sanders, I- Vermont said.

Also standing behind the governor was leadership from both chambers of the Statehouse.

“The bill that is being considered right now in Washington is morally bankrupt and fiscally is short-sighted, selfish and idiotic,” said Speaker Mitzi Johnson, D- Grand Isle-Chittenden.

Congressman Peter Welch applauded Governor Scott for speaking out against the bill crafted by his own party and says Vermont can clear a path.

“What we do here in Vermont is very important to the possibility of us finding our way back to the light in Washington,” said Welch, D- Vermont.

The senate was set to vote this week, but Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has delayed the vote after Senator John McCain underwent surgery last week.