Universal Access to quality, affordable health care
The System Is Broken
Our national health care system is broken. Costs are escalating at unsustainable rates and more and more people are uninsured or underinsured, particularly in this economy. Families are faced with deciding which bills to pay and how much their loved ones' health is worth. Employers are faced with skyrocketing premiums for employee plans, and new businesses are unable to provide insurance for their employees. I am not encouraged by the efforts at the federal level because most of what is happening there will not help Vermonters.
We Can Do Better
Here in Vermont, we can and should do better. We don't have to wait; we can start reforming our system now. We've done a lot, but we're not where we need to be. Kids have access to health care and Catamount is an improvement for those who qualify for it. I have fought over the years for these improvements, but we must do better -- we must demand universal access to quality, affordable health care for all Vermonters. As Governor I will continue working on this issue until every Vermonter has access to quality, affordable health care every time they need it. We can design a system here at home to make sure all Vermonters get access to affordable care, and I want to work with the federal government to make that a reality.
This past fall, I made a commitment to Vermonters to move the discussion on health care reform forward in a way that gets us to universal access to affordable care for all Vermonters, so that when our new governor is inaugurated, Vermont is ready to implement a new health care system that guarantees every Vermonter access to affordable, high quality health care. Beginning with a well-attended public hearing in January, I have been leading a process in the Vermont Senate to determine the best way to fulfill my commitment.
On Tuesday, March 9, I introduced a revised version of S.88--so that we can design the system that will actually deliver real health care to Vermonters, and answer all of the questions that need to be answered to implement this new system.
On April 7th, the bill passed the Senate with an overwhelming, non-partisan 28-2 vote. The bill then went to the House, where the House Health Committee added several provisions to the bill, and then the bill passed the House with a vote of 91-42. The bill is now back in my Senate Health & Welfare Committee for consideration of the House changes. We expect to finish our work on the bill rather quickly so it can go to the governor by the end of the legislative session.