Leahy rips GOP over fast-track plan to repeal Obamacare

first_imgVermont Business Magazine On the Senate Floor this afternoon, Senator Patrick Leahy addressed the Senate on the pending Republican-authored legislation to enable and facilitate repeal of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), popularly known as Obamacare.  The vehicle being used by Republican leaders for this is a budget resolution, S.Con.Res.3, “To Instruct Committees To Draft Legislation To Repeal The ACA.”Floor Remarks Of Senator Patrick LeahyOn The Budget Resolution, S. Con. Res. 3 (To Instruct Committees To Draft Legislation To Repeal The ACA)Senate FloorTuesday, January 10, 2017The 115th Congress convened just last week, and instead of beginning the year with a renewed sense of cooperation, Republicans in Congress have chosen a different path.  The very first thing on the agenda is to press forward with a sham budget – the only purpose of which is to set up a process to repeal the Affordable Care Act with a simple majority vote.Why?  Because they know such a repeal would never pass otherwise.  Instead of working to finalize appropriations bills for this year – already more than three months in – or to invest in our nation’s critical infrastructure, or to truly bolster our nation’s cybersecurity, or to improve the Affordable Care Act to ensure more people can receive affordable coverage, Republicans are recklessly rushing forward solely to fulfill an ill-considered campaign promise.  They are pushing American families over the cliff with the vague ‘promise’ that eventually they will come up with a plan to replace the Affordable Care Act.  Jump first, plan later is anything but a responsible formula for sound decisions, and all the more so when the health insurance of tens of millions of American families is at stake.The Majority Leader and others have said that a repeal of the Affordable Care Act is “only the first step.”  They say that a full repeal is necessary to pave the way for a replacement.  “Let’s leave Obamacare in the past,” they argue.  When you strip away the rhetoric, the only alternative being offered to the American people by advocates of a repeal is: Don’t get sick.The American people have the right to know what a vote to repeal the Affordable Care Act really means.  A repeal of this law would not just take away the rights and care of millions of patients and their families; it would eliminate insurance coverage for millions more, from the aging and elderly, to men and women with preexisting conditions, to the most vulnerable children. A repeal of the Affordable Care Act would turn back the clock to a time when, once again, women would have to pay more for health insurance than men, insurance companies could rescind a health insurance policy because someone gets sick, and coverage could forever be denied to someone born with a disease or ailment.In Vermont, the Affordable Care Act has reduced the number of Vermonters without insurance by 53 percent.  Tens of thousands have gained coverage under the expansion of Medicaid.  And because the Affordable Care Act closed the prescription drug “donut hole,” more than 10,000 Vermont seniors saved $12 million on drugs in 2015 alone.I have heard stories from many Vermonters about how vital this law is to them and their families.  I have heard from family doctors, like one in Bennington who remembers when his patients couldn’t afford treatment because of lifetime and annual limits on health care coverage.  Or a woman from Westminster whose family hit hard times and moved from job to job but could afford to keep continuous health coverage because of the plans offered through the Affordable Care Act.  Other young Vermonters are able to pursue careers in public service or the arts because they can stay on their parents’ health insurance until age 26.  Countless others have underscored that because of previous health issues such as diabetes or cancer, health coverage would be unaffordable without the guarantees and subsidies provided by the Affordable Care Act.Opponents of the Affordable Care Act have gone to new lengths to repeat and prolong this political battle.  And that’s all this is.  They have had six years to propose a better alternative but have failed to do that.  Instead, Congressional Republicans and the President-elect have decided to put the cart before the horse and dismantle our health care system before figuring out how to fix it.  The American people rightly expect us to work together to make progress on so many challenges that we face today.  Instead, we are engaged in dangerous political gamesmanship.   I will not support a return to less protection, less coverage, less fairness, and higher costs.  That’s what repeal means.  The Affordable Care Act extended health insurance to millions of families in Vermont and across the country.  Those who represent the American people in Congress should stand ready to get to work for their constituents.  I will not support an effort to reverse the many reforms and achievements we made through the Affordable Care Act, and instead cobble back together a broken system that for too long burdened most American households with health coverage uncertainty and crippling costs.Source: Leahy 1.10.2017last_img read more

J Robinson fired after controversial, storied career

first_imgRobinson, who was a storied wrestler before his coaching career, wrestled for Oklahoma State and had a 20-15 record as a collegiate wrestler. Robinson won two national championships each in Greco-Roman wrestling and freestyle wrestling after college. He qualified for the 1972 Olympics in Munich. Before he qualified for the Olympics and after he graduated from Oklahoma State, he joined the military, where he served in Vietnam for one year as an Army Ranger. Robinson’s coaching career began in 1976 as an assistant coach at the University of Iowa. Robinson coached at Iowa for nine seasons and the team won seven national championships over that period. Robinson, who had been Minnesota’s coach since 1986, was also inducted into the National Wrestling Hall of Fame and named National Coach of the Year three times during his time at the University. He was named Big Ten Coach of the Year seven times. Although Robinson has had his share of successes at Minnesota, he continually sparked controversy while head coach. In 2009 Robinson was investigated and cleared in an internal investigation — triggered by a Minnesota Daily investigation — for allegedly violating NCAA rules by buying from and selling real estate to current and former wrestlers. Investigators didn’t find evidence of NCAA violations..Robinson was also a vocal critic of Title IX, the federal law that bars gender-based discrimination. He filed a gender discrimination complaint against the University in 2004 and was reprimanded by the University in 2001 for using school resources to campaign against Title IX. He allegedly forced wrestlers at his wrestling camp to write anti-Title IX letters to elected officials. Two university investigations, three national championships and a hall of fame induction later, the historic Gophers head coach finished his career at the University with victories on the mat and controversy off of it.“Given your conduct, your refusal to obey my directive and your failure to accept responsibility for your actions, you can no longer continue in your position as Head Coach,” Coyle said in a termination letter to Robinson. “I have an obligation to act in the interests of the entire Department, all of our student athletes, as well as the broader University community.” J Robinson fired after controversial, storied careerRobinson’s handling of an alleged prescription drug ring on his team ends his historic and controversial 30-year run as Minnesota’s wrestling coach. Liam James DoyleFormer Gophers wrestling head coach J Robinson addresses his team on Jan. 20. Jack WhiteSeptember 8, 2016Jump to CommentsShare on FacebookShare on TwitterShare via EmailPrintJ Robinson, the embattled former Gophers wrestling head coach of 30 years, was fired Wednesday following a University of Minnesota investigation that faulted his handling of an alleged prescription drug problem among more than a dozen student-athletes on his team. Robinson was placed on paid administrative leave in June after allegations surfaced that Gophers wrestlers were using and selling the prescription drug, Xanax. Though authorities declined to press criminal charges, Robinson’s contract was terminated after the University’s internal investigation found he mishandled a drug problem on his team. “I’m terminating coach Robinson’s contract because he was not forthcoming with superiors for reporting his suspicions about selling and abusing prescription medication,” athletic director Mark Coyle said at a Wednesday afternoon press conference. “I have a great deal of respect for coach Robinson and what he’s accomplished during his 30 years at the University of Minnesota. That respect cannot excuse his conduct in this instance.”Robinson will not receive a buyout, Coyle said. Brandon Eggum, who was named the team’s acting head coach in August, was named the interim head coach for the upcoming season. Despite the allegations — which came amid a down year for the team — the longtime coach will also be remembered for turning the Gophers wrestling program into a national powerhouse.Robinson coached the Gophers to all three of their national championships and coached 14 individual national champions. Wrestlers have received 124 All-America honors under Robinson. Several of the best wrestlers in NCAA history wrestled for Minnesota under Robinson — he coached Brock Lesnar to an individual national championship at heavyweight in 2000. Lesnar wrestled professionally in the Ultimate Fighting Championship as recent as this year.He also coached former Minnesota Athlete of the Year Tony Nelson. Nelson won a national championship in 2012 and was runner-up in 2013. “[Robinson did] a hell of a job here,” said Gophers football head coach Tracy Claeys Wednesday. “[Robinson] won a lot of wrestling matches … I think he’s well respected and just so happens that it didn’t end on a good note. But he’s done an awful lot of good things for the University of Minnesota, but the sun will come up tomorrow and both sides will move on.”last_img read more