Video: Sen. Bernie Sanders Speaks to VT Legislators in Favor of Statewide Universal Health Care | News | Seven Days | Vermont's Independent Voice

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Video: Sen. Bernie Sanders Speaks to VT Legislators in Favor of Statewide Universal Health Care

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U.S. Sen. Bernie Sanders, who compromised on a federal public health insurance option for a bill that would dramatically expand community health centers in Vermont, told state lawmakers Tuesday evening that it's the states — not Washington — that will lead the nation in real health care reform.

Sanders addressed a joint meeting of the legislature's Health & Welfare Committee, which is considering several bills that would establish a state-level universal health care system in Vermont. (Read Shay Totten's Blurt post for more on last night's packed hearing).

A hoarse Sanders opened (above) by touting what federal health legislation moving through Congress would do: appropriate $10 billion to $14 billion more for federally qualified health centers, the community health centers that treat all patients regardless of income. For Vermont, that would mean opening two to three more community health care facilities — on top of the eight that exist today.



Sanders acknowledged he has "reservations" about the federal health reform bill as it stands now, but noted it gives states "extreme flexibility" to design health care programs that will work for them.







Sanders also back-patted Vermont for being "an aggressive leader" in expanding Medicaid and making sure "as many people as possible get into the system and [do] not get left outside." Sanders said Vermont stands to net an additional $250 million in Medicaid money under the federal health reform bill.







Sanders ended by calling this a "historic opportunity" to lead the country on universal health care, and received a standing ovation for his performance.



Sanders acknowledged he has "reservations" about the federal health reform bill as it stands now, but noted it gives states "extreme flexibility" to design health care programs that will work for them.







Sanders also back-patted Vermont for being "an aggressive leader" in expanding Medicaid and making sure "as many people as possible get into the system and [do] not get left outside." Sanders said Vermont stands to net an additional $250 million in Medicaid money under the federal health reform bill.







Sanders ended by calling this a "historic opportunity" to lead the country on universal health care, and received a standing ovation for his performance.

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