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Statement on Senate's Release of the Better Care Reconciliation Act

June 23, 2017

The following statement is from Jeff Tieman, VAHHS President and CEO, regarding the U.S. Senate's newest draft bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act: 

"Vermont has one of the lowest uninsured rates in the country and a top-ranked health care system based on health care access, quality, avoidable hospital use and costs, and health outcomes. Much of this success is due to the state’s coverage initiatives over the years and, more recently, the expansion made possible by the Affordable Care Act. 

The U.S. Senate’s newest draft bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act, known as the Better Care Reconciliation Act, puts health care coverage in peril for millions of Americans, including as many as 60,000 Vermonters and some of our most vulnerable neighbors. The bill jeopardizes progress we have made in Vermont to create a health care system that is affordable, effective and sustainable.   

As nonprofit organizations, Vermont’s hospitals exist to serve and improve their patients and communities. The Senate bill was developed in darkness (no hearings, no public comment, no details) with input from few, even from the Republicans in favor of repeal. If enacted, this ill-conceived legislation would take health care—and peace of mind—from so many hard-working people. Drastic Medicaid cuts would also imperil hospitals themselves as they would experience renewed high levels of uncompensated care.

VAHHS forcefully opposes the current proposed legislation and, along with the American Hospital Association and other partners, urges the Senate to improve what’s broken in the Affordable Care Act without shredding the safety net and threatening the health of millions of Americans."