What were they thinking?

Senator Patrick Leahy of Vermont recently slammed the U.S. Senate’s version of a replacement for “Obamacare” (the Affordable Care Act, or ACA), saying, “With no hearings, no debate, no vetting process, and no score, this plan breaks every promise the president made” for replacing the ACA. By a “score,” Leahy is referring to the nonpartisan Congressional Budget Office’s practice of scoring proposed legislation as to costs versus benefits. The CBO scored the House plan and it didn’t look good for the 80 percent of Americans who make under $200,000 in personal income. Now that the Senate version is out, it doesn’t look too different from the House version. The CBO will score the Senate plan this week.

Both Leahy and Governor Scott have vowed to oppose both current versions of the new American Health Care Act (AHCA).

Why?

Quite simply, good healthcare and timely medical treatment can keep people alive. Without it, people die. It’s a no-brainer.

Both House and Senate versions make it hard, if not impossible for many Americans, to afford healthcare insurance. The Senate curtails Medicaid enrollments and throws much of the cost back onto the states; deductibles and copays will climb; and whether you can continue with long-term treatments will depend on what state you live in. Older enrollees can be charged five times more in premiums than younger enrollees. The CBO has calculated that a 64-year-old making $27,000 could pay 60 percent of his or her annual income in premiums for an individual policy, depending on what state he or she lives in. While the individual mandate goes away, the Senate is now considering locking individuals out of the individual market for six months if they fail to keep continuous coverage.

healthcare
Map by Century foundation.

Meanwhile, the savings would end up in the bank accounts of the very wealthy, in the form of removing the Medicare taxes on payroll and investments, and other perks. It’s part of the plan.

When the CBO scored the House plan, it determined that as of 2026, up to 32 million Americans would end up uninsured when Medicaid and subsidies were rolled back.

The Center for American Progress took CBO’s projections of coverage losses by state and determined that 51,600 Vermonters under 65 would lose coverage, across the board. In fact, the Center’s color-coded map of the U.S. shows Vermont among the states standing to lose the most, along with Maine, the entire Southeast U.S., Missouri, Texas, Oklahoma, Idaho, Montana, Wyoming, Delaware and Alaska.

Using Census population figures, The Century Foundation projected that in 2026, 6 percent of Vermonters would pay significantly higher copays and deductibles, 19 percent would lose Medicaid coverage (which pays for nursing homes, as well as keeping people well), 49 percent would pay more for employer plans, and 14 percent would pay significantly higher Medicare premiums as Part B goes up and the subsidized hospital premium eventually goes away.

On the county level, across Windsor, Windham and Rutland counties, 5-7 percent would pay significantly higher copays and deductibles, 20-25 percent would lose Medicaid coverage, 40-47 percent would pay more for employer plans, and 16-18 percent would have significantly higher Medicare premiums.

The CBO didn’t stop there. It projects a nationwide death rate due to untreated conditions, injury and substance abuse, called “additional” deaths, which presumably would not have occurred with adequate healthcare. Depending on how many people have lost healthcare as of 2026, the CBO projects 18,100 to 27,700 deaths as a direct result. The figures for Vermont range from 41 to 62. Numbers for New Hampshire are comparable.

Who wants to go first?

 

 

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