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October 18th, 2017

Opposition to Threats to Health Coverage

Yet again, health care coverage in Vermont is under attack at the federal level. A coalition of Vermont health care organizations is voicing unified opposition to the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill and clearly states that its passage by the United States Senate would be a major setback for health care in our country. The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill threatens Vermonters’ access to affordable health insurance coverage and violates Vermont’s core values.

If it becomes law, the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill will “defund” Planned Parenthood, and severely reverse gains made at the national level by the Affordable Care Act (ACA) including increased coverage levels and affordability, and other protections such as mental health parity. Previous Congressional Budget Office (CBO) reports regarding the ACA repeal found that up to 24 million Americans would lose their health insurance. While the CBO has not updated its forecast for the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill, it is clear that the impact will be significant. Furthermore, any decrease in federal funding through the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill will put Vermont’s payment and delivery system reform efforts in jeopardy. The Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill will increase the number of uninsured Vermonters and harm Vermont’s health care system and economy.

The coalition includes Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont, the Office of the Health Care Advocate, Planned Parenthood of Northern New England, the University of Vermont Medical Center, the Vermont Association of Hospitals and Health Systems, Vermont Care Partners, the Bi-State Primary Care Association, the Vermont Medical Society, and the Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care, Inc.

Each of these organizations is committed to improving access to high quality, affordable health care in Vermont and continues to work independently and in collaboration toward this united goal. The coalition calls on the US Senate to reject the Graham-Cassidy-Heller-Johnson bill and any other efforts to roll back access to affordable, high-quality health care.

ORGANIZATIONAL CONTACTS:

Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont

Sara Teachout | Director, Government, Public, and Media Relations

teachoutsgarlanda@bcbsvt.com

802-371-3254

Office of the Health Care Advocate, Vermont Legal Aid

Mike Fisher | Chief Health Care Advocate

mfisher@vtlegalaid.org

802-383-2226

Planned Parenthood of Northern New England

Lucy Leriche (she/her/hers) | Vice President of Public Policy Vermont

Lucy.Leriche@ppnne.org

Cell: 802 598-4182

The University of Vermont Medical Center

Michael Carrese | Media Relations

Michael.Carrese@uvmhealth.org

802-847-0368

Vermont Association of Hospital and Health Systems

Devon Green | Vice President of Government Relations

devon@vahhs.org

802-223-3461 x104

Vermont Care Partners

Julie Tessler | Executive Director

julie@vermontcarepartners.org

802-223-1773 x401

Bi-State Primary Care Association

Georgia Maheras| Director, Vermont Public Policy

gmaheras@bistatepca.org

802-229-0002 x 218

Vermont Medical Society

Jessa Barnard| General Counsel

jbarnard@vtmd.org

802-223-7898

Vermont Program for Quality in Health Care, Inc.

Catherine Fulton | Executive Director

catherinef@vpqhc.org

802-229-2449

VNAs of Vermont

Jill Mazza Olson | Executive Director

jill@vnavt.org

802-229-0579

Thank you,

Michael Fisher

Chief Health Care Advocate

Office of the Health Care Advocate

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