Vt. congressional delegation comments on health care decision

Vermont’s congressional delegation has each issued statements related to the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act.

In individual statements, Sen. Patrick Leahy, Sen. Bernard Sanders and Rep. Peter Welch commented on the decision:

Sen. Patrick Leahy

“Today’s decision by the Supreme Court to uphold the Affordable Care Act is a win not only for the millions of Vermonters and other Americans who have long been victimized by a deeply flawed health care system, but for all Americans who will benefit as we continue to implement this landmark law.

“Over much of the last century, generation after generation has unsuccessfully grappled with how to answer complex and increasingly urgent questions about how to let every American have access to quality, affordable health insurance.  Out of control costs were eating our economy alive and forcing many employers to drop insurance for their workers.  The Affordable Care Act at last answered those questions.  Though no bill is perfect, these are good reforms, long needed by the American people, by American businesses and by the American economy.

“The nation and every American household now would be best served if this historic decision puts an end to the years of partisan attacks and obstruction of efforts to help the millions of Americans who have fallen through the cracks, and millions more who worry with good reason that they may fall through the crack of our broken health insurance system.  The Court has spared the American people a return to those decades of spiraling problems and uncertainty that reached into every American household.

“The Court’s decision reaffirms what I have believed since the Senate debated and passed this law: Congress has the power under the Constitution and the Court’s own, long-standing precedent to protect Americans from abuses by health insurers and to help give all Americans with access to affordable health care, including some of the most vulnerable among us like children and older Americans.

“In passing the Affordable Care Act, Congress built on the cornerstones of modern America like Social Security, Medicare and Medicaid, to strengthen the Nation’s social safety net and help protect hardworking Americans.  I have served in the Senate for 37 years, through seven presidencies.  I am one of the few people in the Senate today who can say that I served alongside representatives who voted to create our nation’s Social Security system, voted for the G.I. bill, passed the Voting Rights Act, and created Medicare, Medicaid, and Head Start.  Congress has come together to refine the laws establishing these programs.  We should similarly come together to further improve the Affordable Care Act where needed.  It’s time to stop the political posturing.  Congress works best for the American people when we are able to come together to solve national problems.  America is stronger when we do.”

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Sen. Bernard Sanders   

WASHINGTON, June 28 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) issued the following statement today after the Supreme Court upheld  the Affordable Care Act:

“Today is a good day for millions of Americans who have pre-existing conditions who can no longer be rejected by insurance companies.  It is a good day for families with children under 26 who can keep their children on their health insurance policies.  It is a good day for women who can no longer be charged far higher premiums than men.

“It is a good day for 30 million uninsured Americans who will have access to healthcare.  It is a good day for seniors who will continue to see their prescription drug costs go down as the so-called doughnut hole goes away. It is a good day for small businesses who simply cannot continue to afford the escalating costs of providing insurance for their employees. It is a good day for 20 million Americans who will soon be able to find access to community health centers.

“It is an especially good day for the state of Vermont, which stands to receive hundreds of millions of dollars in additional federal funds to help our state achieve universal health care.

“In my view, while the Affordable Care Act is an important step in the right direction and I am glad that the Supreme Court upheld it, we ultimately need to do better.  If we are serious about providing high-quality, affordable healthcare as a right, not a privilege, the real solution to America’s health care crisis is a Medicare-for-all, single-payer system. Until then, we will remain the only major nation that does not provide health care for every man, woman and child as a right of citizenship.

“I am proud that Vermont is making steady progress toward implementing a single-payer system. I hope our state will be a model to show the rest of the nation how to provide better care at less cost to more people.”

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Rep. Peter Welch

WASHINGTON, D.C. – Rep. Peter Welch issued the below statement following the Supreme Court’s decision on the Affordable Care Act.

“This historic decision by the Supreme Court clears the way to get about the business of ensuring that every American finally has access to quality and affordable health care. The Affordable Care Act will remain the law of the land.

“Amidst the contentious national health care debate over the last two years, there has been widespread consensus on one thing: America’s health care system is broken. The only beneficiaries of the status quo are insurance companies and their executives. Working families need the peace of mind and that comes with quality and affordable health care coverage. And businesses need to compete in a global economy without the heavy burden of skyrocketing employee health care premiums.

“With this landmark decision now behind us, both parties should set political differences aside and make this law work for the American people. It won’t be easy, but it’s time to get back to work.”

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