Thousands 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.
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.