Thousands of Bernies?

1*4ei5BauP4guZgARxrY3Aqg.jpegAre you the next Bernie Sanders?

Why not?

A lot more people around the country know about Vermont today than they did just a few years ago.  

Even though Bernie’s not running for president (at least not yet), Rights & Democracy is attracting national attention in Vermont for building the political revolution on a local level and you can not only help us make it happen, but be the change we're seeking.

Just take a look at this recent article on Truthout: Thousands of Bernies? Progressive Groups Aim to Build a Majority From the Bottom Up.”

In it, journalist Michael Corcoran highlighted founding RAD Board member Ali Dieng’s recent city council victory in Burlington’s Ward 7 special election.

“One recent success story has advocates excited. Ali Dieng, born in Mauritania and raised in Senegal, pulled off a victory in a special election in June for a seat in the city council in the typically conservative New North End district in Burlington, Vermont (which is also the district where Bernie and Jane Sanders live) ... After building a strong coalition including members of both parties, he had a decisive victory and became the only non-white member of the council and the second new American (he came to the US in 2007) to serve on the body.”

RAD’s Political Engagement Director Isaac Grimm was quoted in the piece saying,

"When we started the organization … we had conversations about what kind of movement we needed to build and what people saw in themselves as their role in this movement, Ali was one of the first people who said he could imagine running as a grassroots candidate and then actually stepped up and did it. [This] is exactly the formula we need to have the people's movement take power in this country: a multiracial, multigenerational, people's platform of issues aligned with the political revolution that Bernie's campaign inspired.”

Screenshot_2017-06-14_16.17.59.jpegThe movement inspired by Bernie’s campaign is founded on the belief that we must continue to organize—not only around issues, and not only in reaction to Trump's attacks. We must organize to build the necessary power to make our values reflected in our policies.

As we head into the 2018 election cycle, RAD will be holding Movement Politics trainings to build a shared analysis and skill set for progressive champions to run (or support) powerful electoral campaigns so we can take back power in our state house and enact a political agenda that puts people and the planet over profits. If you’re not sure what we mean by Movement Politics, click on the link above and learn more.

"RAD has clearly helped progressive candidates win elected offices in Vermont, and their command of the resources available to candidates is stunning."—RAD trainee Andrew Sullivan.

Our next Movement Politics training is in Montpelier on September 9th.

If this date doesn’t work, and you're thinking of running for office or taking a leadership role in supporting electoral campaigns just fill out this registration form and we’ll let you know when our next training is scheduled.

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Medicaid NOT Millionaires!

20170809_122632.jpgAs members of Congress returned home for August recess, Rights & Democracy held a listening session with Vermont seniors at the Champlain Senior Center in Burlington to discuss the impact of the national GOP ‘s health care agenda and hear seniors’ concerns, thoughts, hopes, and ideas.

Sixty percent of people who receive vital care and services through Medicaid are older adults 50 years of age and older and people with disabilities.

In 2017, Medicaid provides coverage for 27.7 million adults, 10 million people with disabilities, and 5.8 million seniors. In addition to covering most people in nursing homes, Medicaid also covers the majority of home care, which ninety percent of people prefer to an institution.

Gutting Medicaid would not only threaten the ability of older adults to age at home with dignity, it could eliminate one in three home care jobs, cruelly take away healthcare from the people who care for others, and shift caregiving responsibilities onto more adult children, putting their own jobs and financial security at risk.

In Vermont specifically, approximately 200,000 Vermonters depend on Medicaid for their medical care including 22,300 Vermont seniors. Thirty thousand Vermonters are “dual eligibles” or individuals (seniors or people with disabilities) entitled to both Medicare and some level of Medicaid benefits.

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The majority of Republicans in Congress recently voted in favor of bills that would not only have repealed the Affordable Care Act and eliminated new Medicaid coverage for 11 million people, but would also have radically restructured the 52-year old Medicaid program that funds two-third of long-term services, including nursing home and in-home care for seniors and people with disabilities.  

Although Republicans failed to pass their Medicaid proposals as part of ACA repeal, and though roughly two-thirds of Americans oppose cuts to Medicaid, President Donald Trump and House Republicans accelerated their assault with a federal budget proposal that includes even deeper cuts to Medicaid than those in their repeal bill, as well as significant changes to Medicare. These cuts are part of a package that would at the same time provide trillions in tax breaks to millionaires and corporations.

Rights & Democracy was joined by Senator Bernie Sander’s Director of Health Policy Kathryn Becker Van Haste as well as state legislators from Chittenden County to listen to seniors and discuss efforts in Vermont and nationally to protect their health care. Burlington Reps. Selene Colburn and Brian Cina attended the session with more than 30 seniors. Cina is the lead sponsor of the Universal Primary Care bill.

The event was part of a national day of action jointly sponsored by Caring Across Generations (CAG) and Health Care for America Now (HCAN).


$15 Minimum Wage Would Inject $250 Million into Vermont's Economy

15895304_1826201720955068_5008666117671605101_n.pngRaising Vermont's minimum wage to $15 an hour would inject roughly $250 million into Vermont's economy. Yep, you read that correctly: $250 million.

That preliminary finding from the Joint Fiscal Office in Vermont was just one of the exciting economic justice developments last week in New England.

In addition, Raise Up Massachusetts announced their petition drive to put ballot questions in support of a $15 an hour minimum wage and statewide paid family medical leave in front of voters in 2018. 

Vermont Public Radio (VPR) reported that Vermont legislators will soon convene a Minimum Wage Summer Study Committee to examine the benefits and impacts of raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour.

This study committee was charged with laying the groundwork to help the Vermont Senate live up to its promise to enact $15 an hour minimum wage legislation in 2018. This work includes addressing the concerns of businesses in the state and seeking a much-needed solution to the benefits cliff, a long-standing issue holding thousands of working families back from taking higher paying jobs or working more hours for fear of facing a net income loss from drops in federal and state subsidies such as Childcare Financial Assistance.  

The Raise Up Vermont campaign continues to build support for better standards for workers in our state and this summer and fall we need to keep up the heat to win $15 and hour and win Paid Family Leave for thousands of families in 2018.

Sign our Petition to Raise Up Vermont and win a $15 minimum wage, paid family leave, and better worker protections in Vermont!

With more than 60,000 Vermonters living below the federal poverty line, it is time for us to take serious action to address poverty and rising inequality in our state.  

Raising the minimum wage to $15 an hour and enacting a statewide Paid Family & Medical Leave program would benefit tens of thousands of low-wage workers, boost local economic growth, and improve the health of our families and communities.

Thank you for helping us turn up the heat on these critical issues!


Join Us in DC! Kill the GOP Zombie Health Care Bill

IMG_6306.JPGThis is the Zombie health care bill that won't die, so RAD is sending another van of Vermonters to DC on Monday to pressure on Republicans in Congress to kill their health care bill once and for all!

You may have seen the news that we sent down another van load brave Rights & Democracy members to take part in two direct actions in Washington, DC alongside folks from around the country.

Several RAD members braved arrest, and others provided necessary support for those arrested (keeping valuable safe, providing legal observation).

Will you join the next group of RAD members headed to DC next week? If not, can you chip in a few dollars to help us get them there?

The GOP won't stop trying to pass this bill and we won't stop the resistance!

A van will leave Burlington Monday morning, July 24th, with at least one stop in Bennington. The return date is Thursday, July 27th.

We have secured housing, so you just need to bring necessities for a few days. Times are fluid at the moment as we assess who is interested in joining, so if you'd like to go let us KNOW BY SUNDAY by clicking on the Join Us button below and we'll be in touch.

Vermonters continue to be at the center of this fight in DC, and our pressure has been working to slow GOP’s efforts to pass these disastrous bills, and to get Gov. Phil Scott and other Republican leaders in Vermont to stand against these bad bills.

HELPS US KEEP UP THE FIGHT.

JOIN US! Click here to sign up to go to DC next week. Let us know by SUNDAY morning!

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DONATE! Contribute to the cause and help us send folks to DC to #KilltheBill!

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The time is now to keep up the pressure in Congress, as well as here at home in Vermont to ensure that our elected officials know that throwing millions of people off health care to benefit a wealthy few is not a Vermont value, and it should not be a value of our country.


Why We Need to Kill The GOP Health Care Bill

Read RAD member Kelly Cummings' excellent piece in the St. Albans Messenger articulating why Vermont needs to stand up against the GOP health care repeal bill that will take health care away from 22 million poor, working and middle-class families—to give nearly $600 billion in tax breaks to the wealthy and drug and insurance companies. We need to kill this disastrous bill which will have a profound impact on Vermont:
 
51,200: Number of people who will lose health coverage in Vermont
32,900 will lose Medicaid (7,800 children, 1,900 people with disabilities, 1,300 veterans, 3,100 seniors)
18,400 will lose coverage through the individual insurance market
 
490: Number of Vermont millionaires who will get a tax cut
$41,222: Size of tax cut for millionaires in Vermont each year (average)

As Kelly articulates, now more than ever, we need to resist the GOP agenda and all join together to fight for health care for all. Read Kelly's piece below.

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Read more

Gov. Phil Scott: Do More to Oppose GOP Health Care "Reforms"

DDa0-kmXUAAsBqC.jpgOn the heels of a rally with more than 75 people on Wednesday, June 28 in downtown Burlington, the following organizations delivered this letter to the office of Gov. Phil Scott urging him to do more than to send letters to Congress, but to take a bold leadership position against this disastrous federal legislation.

 

We are encouraged that the Governor is beginning to take the concerns of Vermonters to heart as it relates to the disastrous federal health care legislation moving through Congress, however Gov. Scott should stand with Vermonters publicly to denounce the pending federal legislation that could eliminate health care for 51,000 Vermonters, and potentially throw tens of thousands of Vermonters off Medicaid.

 

As organizations that work tirelessly to build a better Vermont for today and for future generations, we are joining these Vermonters—already speaking up in unprecedented numbers—in demanding that you to take bold action to resist your party’s assault on Vermonters’ health care.

 

We look forward to having Gov. Scott join us at a public event to hear from Vermonters and stand with us as we continue the fight forward for universal and equitable health care in Vermont, and we'll keep you posted on any public events.

 

Nearly 3500 Vermonters have signed a petition calling on Gov. Scott to play a leadership role in stopping this legislation. Consider signing on!

 

June 29,2017

 

Dear Governor Scott,

 

We, the undersigned organizations, represent a diverse array of Vermonters who believe that the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA) proposed in the US Senate, as well as the American Health Care Act (AHCA) passed by the US House of Representatives, are a direct attack on the health and well-being of the people and the communities of the Green Mountain State.

 

We are therefore calling on you as our Governor to publicly stand with us in opposition to a Republican agenda for our health care system that would directly threaten the quality of life of tens of thousands of Vermonters.

 

The plan proposed by members of your party in the US Senate will take away h19437274_1979768505575256_4924051776589456409_n.jpgealth care from 22 million Americans, weaken coverage and consumer protections for everyone with private health insurance, raise premiums for older adults, increase deductibles, and defund Planned Parenthood. It will eliminate enhanced federal funding for the Medicaid expansion and cap federal funds for all Americans who receive coverage through Medicaid. By creating a financial crisis for state budgets, the BCRA will force states to gut Medicaid coverage for 74 million Americans including working families, children, seniors,  people with disabilities and veterans (nearly 2 million veterans rely on Medicaid for care). The GOP plan will also threaten the financial security of hospitals, community clinics, and other health care providers, as well as cost millions of health care jobs.

 

While Medicaid beneficiaries and state budgets will suffer under what the Congressional Budget Office has reported to be the BCRA’s $772 billion cut to Medicaid, America’s most wealthy individuals, drug companies, and insurance corporations will get $541 billion in tax breaks. Both the BCRA and AHCA represent the single largest transfer of wealth from poor and working families to the wealthiest people and corporations in our nation’s history.

 

In Vermont specifically:

  • 51,000 Vermonters are projected to lose coverage (30,100 from Medicaid alone, along with 5,800 who are privately insured, and another 15,700 people who buy from the individual market).

  • $2 billion in new state revenues would need to be raised in the next 10 years or coverage for the 206,000 Vermonters on Medicaid would need to be reduced or eliminated.  

  • Vermont’s ability to respond to health emergencies like the current opioid crisis would be crippled.

 

In short, under the Republican plans, the toll on individual Vermonters’ health and our state’s other key priorities—investment in infrastructure, our education system, and environmental protection—will be tremendous. Vermonters will go without access to needed care and some will die unnecessarily. And this harm would all be done so that 490 of Vermont’s top earners (all earning more than $1 million a year) will receive nearly $41,000 in tax breaks.

 

Given the threat to tens of thousands in this state, to our economy, and to our communities, thousands of Vermonters are calling on you to act and many of them are sharing their health care stories so you can better understand how their lives could be wrecked as a result of either the House of Senate proposal.

 

As organizations that work tirelessly to build a better Vermont for today and for future generations, we are joining these Vermonters—already speaking up in unprecedented numbers—in demanding that you to take bold action to resist your party’s assault on Vermonters’ health care.

 

We ask you to:

 

Governor Scott, the time is now for you to act with us—and to act decisively and publicly—to resist the GOP health care agenda which would fundamentally restructure health care in Vermont and across the country in ways that would do irreversible harm to people’s health and jeopardize countless lives.

 

We look forward to you joining us.

 

Rights & Democracy

Vermont Center for Independent Living

Green Mountain ADAPT

National Association of Social Workers, Vermont chapter

Justice For All

Vermont State Labor Council, AFL CIO

Vermont Workers’ Center

The Vermont Network Against Domestic and Sexual Violence

Vermont Works for Women

Peace & Justice Center

Vermont Chapter of the Sierra Club

Green Mountain Self-Advocates

The Vermont State Association of Letter Carriers AFL CIO

Migrant Justice

American Civil Liberties Union of Vermont

Lake Champlain International

Vermont Public Interest Research Group

Vermont National Education Association

Outright Vermont

 


What Healthcare Means to Me

This essay is by RAD member Katie McCurdy and focuses on the importance of having pre-existing conditions covered by insurance. "The threat of being denied coverage for a pre-existing condition is real, and I remember those days when I had to worry about gaps in coverage because then I would be considered to have a pre-existing condition and insurance could refuse me," Katie writes on her blog, which she's allowed us to republish here.

Since I was 13, I’ve had autoimmune conditions that negatively affect my health. The first to appear was Myasthenia Gravis, which causes muscle weakness through my whole body and especially impacts my ability to smile and make facial expressions. I also was diagnosed with Sjogren’s Syndrome, which causes dry eyes, muscle aches, neuropathy (numbness, burning and tingling in my fingers and toes), heart palpitations, and more.

1-m-U0-sjgSIdVlwaoXE4GSA.jpgFor the most part I took my medication and went about my life. I’ve been able to study abroad, be a ski bum, go to grad school, hold a job, and speak at conferences and events. But there has always been a very emotionally painful aspect to my condition, which is social awkwardness and anxiety due to facial weakness. The feeling of trying to smile in conversation, and instead looking like I’m grimacing (like a dog baring its teeth), and seeing that flash of confusion on the other person’s face. Or posing for a group photo and being singled out — ‘Smile! Try harder!’ When I wasn’t feeling strong (my symptoms vary by the hour), I’d avoid people in public for this reason.

In addition to smiling problems, I’ve also struggled with my voice. It can get weak and turn nasally after about one or two minutes of speaking. It’s hard to get the words out. This has caused a large amount of anxiety with any public speaking I’ve done, and I’ve dealt with it in the past by pre-recording some of my slides to give my voice a break.

Last winter, my colleague and I were accepted to present on our hospital design work at the global Interaction Design Conference, which was a huge honor. As the date approached, I became extremely anxious because my symptoms were flaring considerably, and I wasn’t sure I’d be able to talk for the full duration of our presentation.

I made a special appointment with my doctor, we talked about options, and decided to try IVIG, Intravenous Immunoglobulin. This is an IV infusion of pooled donor plasma that can temporarily strengthen the immune system. The stated cost at my hospital is over 30 thousand dollars for a round of treatment, which I would need to receive on a monthly basis. Luckily I have great insurance, and after covering the relatively low yearly deductible, there would be no cost to me for these treatments.

My first round of treatment was in January, and I felt the effects almost immediately. My joints felt ‘cooler,’ and my smile and voice were stronger. My level of stress about my upcoming presentation plummeted. We practiced our talk many times and I was confident we were going to nail it (which we did, and you can check out our talk here if you’re interested.)

Since that time I’ve been getting IVIG treatments regularly. I call it my go-go-juice, or my crystal pepsi, and it has made an enormous impact on how I feel. The interaction of talking with someone face-to-face and smiling, joking, laughing and not hiding my face out of embarrassment — that hasn’t happened for 25 years. I don’t hide from people in public, I don’t feel so self-conscious, and I feel more confident at work.

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All of this is why the upcoming vote on the American Health Care Act is on my mind. The threat of being denied coverage for a pre-existing condition is real, and I remember those days when I had to worry about gaps in coverage because then I would be considered to have a pre-existing condition and insurance could refuse me.

If denied coverage, I couldn’t afford to continue the IVIG treatments that have made such a drastic improvement on my wellbeing. I would likely need to increase my use of prednisone, which has many long-term side effects.

I stand to lose a lot. Potentially my job, I suppose, but also my confidence and social ease. They say smiling makes you happier, and happier people are more productive, and, well, they say a lot of things, but dang it don’t take away my healthcare.

If you care about helping out people like me (and your own future self, be real) give your senators a call today and tell them to reject the current form of the AHCA (now called the Better Care Reconciliation Act (BCRA), which would devastate people with pre-existing conditions.

 


National Healthcare Day of Action: Don't End Medicaid To Give Millionaires Tax Breaks!

Democracy_Summer.pngWe want more Medicaid, not Millionaires!


Join Rights & Democracy for a rally and press conference this Wednesday in Burlington to denounce the GOP attack on Vermonters' healthcare and hear from the people most affected by the deep cuts to Medicaid.

Join us at 11:30 AM, 199 Main Street, Burlington, in front of the Democracy statue

Speakers will include representatives from Rights & Democracy, the Vermont Office of Health Care Advocate, Vermont Center for Independent Living, Disability Rights Vermont, as well as representatives from the offices of US Sen. Patrick Leahy and US Sen. Bernie Sanders.

 

Hear the stories of those most impacted by these devastating plans to gut Medicaid and other healthcare protections in order to provide tax cuts to the wealthiest among us and learn what we can do next to fight back!

 

Rights & Democracy is joining its national partner Health Care for America Now (HCAN) and HCAN state affiliates across the country to send a message to Congressional members as well as Gov. Phil Scott to stop the GOP proposals to gut Medicaid.

If you can't make Wednesday's event, here's how YOU can help now:

Call Republican Gov. Phil Scott to sign onto a bi-partisan letter of US governors who oppose the Senate plan and want to see a more collaborative process to improve the health of their residents and hold their state budgets harmless. Scott has a chance to be a national Republican leader, like other Vermont Republicans before him, but we need to let him know that we want him to act.

Add your name to the list! More than 3300 Vermonters have asked Scott to stand up for healthcare.

Call the offices of US Sen. Patrick Leahy and US Sen. Bernie Sanders and tell them to do everything they can to stop this bill from becoming law.
Let them know that we have their back to pull out the stops to halt this bill in its tracks and protect Medicaid.

Those numbers:

Gov. Phil Scott: (802) 828-3333

US Sen. Patrick Leahy: (800) 642-3193

US Sen. Bernie Sanders: (800) 339-9834

Last week, Rights & Democracy members, health care advocates and others likely impacted by Republican plans held a National Day of Action rally at the Vermont State House [click to watch our video].

Before Wednesday, if you have a healthcare story that you want to share with our elected officials, tell us and we'll pass it along.

In Solidarity,

Rights & Democracy

UPCOMING EVENTS & ACTIONS - SIGN UP TODAY!

 

THURS, JUNE 29 – Burlington Climate Action Meeting!

6:30 PM - 8 PM, Champlain Senior Center, 241 N Winooski Ave
What can we do to reduce Burlington's impact on the climate? How can we transition from fossil fuels and also reduce energy consumption? Our electricity sector is powered by renewable energy but our home heating and transportation is almost entirely powered by fossil fuels. We have a long way to go right here in our hometown. Let's make it happen!



FRIDAY, JUNE 30 – How to Kill a City

6:30-8 PM, SEABA Center, 404 Pine Street, Burlington

Join a discussion about how development as a strategy for economic advancement needs to be balanced by policies that prevent the otherwise inevitable geographic inequity of displacement, along with an overview of Memorial Auditorium's history in Burlington. The main speaker is Peter Moskowitz, author of the new book How to Kill a City: Gentrification, Inequality, and the Fight for the Neighborhood. The event is free and open to the public.

MON, July 3 - Canvass with us at the Burlington Waterfront Celebration!

 

TUES, July 4 - Canvass at a 4th of July Celebration near you!


WED, JULY 5 – Burlington Organizing Team Meeting

6:30 – 8 PM, 241 No. Winooski Ave., Champlain Senior Center, Burlington
Democracy Summer is Here! Join your neighbors to follow up on our Democracy Summer kickoff, debrief Al Dieng's City Council campaign and brainstorm our Democracy Summer events, Town Hall meetings, July 22 mass canvass, political trainings, and more.

 

SUN, JULY 9 - Movement Politics Training

10 AM – 3 PM, location TBD, Montpelier

To move from protest to power we need to get serious about impacting elections, either by running for office ourselves or support campaigns run by our allies in the movement.  If you'd like to join our first day long movement politics training, fill out this registration form.  We will then follow up with a phone interview before accepting applicants.


Yes, the Healthcare Bill is THAT Bad. Here's How We Stop It

After weeks of secretive work, the Senate GOP has released its "healthcare" plan and it's bad. Really, really bad.

In Vermont, 21,000 people could lose coverage in order to give 490 Vermont households earning more than $1 million a tax break of more than $41,000! Tens of thousands of other Vermonters will see premiums rise, and many Medicaid recipients could lose coverage, too.

20170621_123615.jpgWith no hearings and no input, GOP leaders now want to vote on this bill next week.

This is outrageous.

We need you to take a few minutes out and make some simple phone calls to Gov. Phil Scott and US Sens. Patrick Leahy and Bernie Sanders.

The Senate bill would cut $600-plus Billion from Medicaid nationally, and wield a devastating blow to our state's Medicaid system, which covers 206,000 people— including nearly half of all of Vermont's children.

To keep our promises to those residents—elderly, children, and low-income folks—Vermont will need to raise an additional $2 Billion over the next 10 years to maintain current coverage levels through our expanded Medicaid programs.

Here's how we can work to stop it.

First, call Republican Gov. Phil Scott to sign onto a bi-partisan letter of US governors who oppose the Senate plan and want to see a more collaborative process to improve the health of their residents and hold their state budgets harmless. Scott has a chance to be a national Republican leader, like other Vermont Republicans before him, but we need to let him know that we want him to act.

More than 3300 Vermonters have asked Scott to stand up for healthcare. Add your name to the list!

Then, call the offices of US Sen. Patrick Leahy and US Sen. Bernie Sanders and tell them to do everything they can to stop this bill from becoming law.
Let them know that we have their back to pull out the stops to halt this bill in its tracks.

Those numbers:

Gov. Phil Scott: (802) 828-3333

US Sen. Patrick Leahy: (800) 642-3193

US Sen. Bernie Sanders: (800) 339-9834

Yesterday, Rights & Democracy members, health care advocates and others likely impacted by Republican plans held a National Day of Action rally at the Vermont State House [click to watch our video].

It's time to stand together and fight back.

We'll keep you posted on upcoming actions, and in the meantime if you have a healthcare story that you want to share with our elected officials, tell us and we'll pass it along.



Vermonters Urge Gov. Scott: Put Healthcare First

20170621_123615.jpgThousands of Vermonters, including Rights & Democracy members, health care advocates and people potentially impacted by Republican plans to repeal the Affordable Care Act (ACA) and radically cut Medicaid held a National Day of Action rally today at the Vermont State House.

Click to watch our event video on Facebook (or see the embedded video below)

Speakers included Rights & Democracy leader Mari Cordes, RN, Darren Allen, communications director of the Vermont NEA, Brenda Patioine, a Rights & Democracy leader and who receives healthcare due to the ACA, Teyve Kelman, a high school teacher and member of the Vermont Worker's Center, and Rev. Earl Kooperkamp of Vermont Interfaith Action.

Republican repeal proposals would cut healthcare from millions of a American families while giving $600 billion in tax breaks to the wealthy and corporations as part of a national day of action led by Health Care for American Now (HCAN) partners.

In Vermont, 21,000 people would lose coverage while 490 households with over $1 million get a tax break of more than $41,000.

Participants in today’s event called on Republican Gov. Phil Scott to urge his GOP colleagues to reject any bill that trades cuts to healthcare for families, including eliminating coverage, caps and block grants in Medicaid and increased costs for older people and people with pre-existing conditions for tax breaks that benefit the rich and corporations.

GOP Senators are expected to vote on a bill that closely resembles the American Health Care Act (AHCA), which House Republicans passed in May, before the end of June. The AHCA takes coverage away from 23 million people, increases costs for older people and people with pre-existing conditions, waters down coverage and ends Medicaid as we know it even for seniors, children and people with disabilities who had Medicaid before passage of ACA. The House passed AHCA would eliminate health coverage for millions to pay for tax cuts for millionaires.

In addition to tax breaks for wealthy individuals, the AHCA also includes $145 billion over ten years in tax breaks for big insurance companies and $25 billion over ten years in tax breaks for prescription drug companies.

The increased tax breaks for Insurance and prescription drug companies in the GOP proposals are particularly egregious given rising profits over the past several years. The eight biggest insurance companies increased profits by one-third from 2011 to 2015, rising from $19.1 billion to $25.3 billion. The average cost of brand name drugs widely used by older Americans for chronic conditions more than tripled between 2006 and 2015, climbing from $1,788 to $5,897 according to a recent report from AARP.

The AHCA is widely opposed by national organizations including AARP, the American Cancer Society, the American Academy of Pediatrics, the American Hospital Association, the Catholic Council of Bishops, and the March of Dimes.  Recent polls confirm that voters also oppose this repeal by a 3 to 1 margin and is the single least popular piece of federal legislation in decades.


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