From the Capitol: Sanders, Leahy and Welch speak out

  • Published in MyView

The members of Vermont’s congressional delegation issued the following statements on the passage of the American Health Care Act, which passed the House of Representatives last week.

By Senator Bernie Sanders, I-Vermont

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 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 health insurance, we must guarantee health care as a right to all.

By Senator Patrick Leahy, D-Vermont

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.

By Representative Peter Welch, D-Vermont

President Trump was elected by rural America. This bill betrays rural America. Three ways.

First, 24 million plus are going to lose their health care, many of them in rural America. Second, it takes health care dollars and turns it into a $7 million tax cut for the wealthiest 400 families in this country. And then, third, the tenet of rural America is “We are in it together.” And that means if you are born with a pre-existing condition, you have a pre-existing condition, we’re going to be there for you. This bill turns its back on rural America – the people who stand up for one another and believe we are in it together and you’re not on your own.

This 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 pre-existing 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.