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Vermont’s Governor, Congressional Delegation and Legislative Leaders Encourage Thoughtful Federal Policy, Praise Vermont’s Health Reform Work

July 20, 2017

Montpelier, VT – Yesterday in the Governor’s ceremonial office, Vermont leaders from all major political parties encouraged the U.S. Senate to adopt smart, sensible changes to the Affordable Care Act and protect the good work Vermont has done in health reform.

State and federal leaders agreed that lawmakers should not enact harmful legislation like the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) but instead work to protect Vermont’s achievements over the years that lead the nation in providing high-quality health care for all.

Evidence of Vermont’s collaborative efforts to create an effective, accessible health care system includes the state’s high rates of insurance coverage, top-ranked quality and improving affordability.

The widely-respected and frequently cited Commonwealth Fund report recently concluded that Vermont ranks #1 in the nation on many measures of health system performance including access; quality and equity of care; avoidable hospital use and costs; and health outcomes.

Vermont has had a proud history of providing excellent health care while continually expanding access. Such programs include Dr. Dynasaur, VHAP and VHAP-RX, Medicaid expansion, Catamount Health, and now the All Payer Model.

“We need federal health policy that supports and enhances Vermont’s good work, not policy that builds new barriers to coverage and care,” said Jeff Tieman, president and CEO of the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems. “We are fortunate in Vermont to have elected officials willing to work together to protect the health and well-being of Vermonters while making our communities and economy stronger. Now we need Washington to follow suit.” 

The Senate’s BCRA measure would have left Vermonters with less access to health care coverage. Under that bill, as many as 60,000 Vermonters could have lost insurance coverage by 2026 and federal spending in Vermont for health care could have been cut by nearly a billion dollars over the next 10 years. As reported last night, the Senate bill as proposed does not seem to have a path forward.

“Cuts and caps on Medicaid in Vermont would affect hard-working families, children, Vermonters living with disabilities, and our senior citizens,” Tieman said. “This legislation puts in jeopardy the hard work that Vermont hospitals, physicians, community partners, policy makers, and others have done to make our health care system among the best in the country.”

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Read the entire Commonwealth Fund Scorecard on State Health System Performance 2017: http://www.commonwealthfund.org/interactives/2017/mar/state-scorecard/