Editorial, Legislative Report

Health, Transportation and Gun Control Lead Agenda

by Rep. Melanie Carpenter
HYDE PARK –This year the legislative session started with a flurry of bills and testimony from community members and experts from around the state. I serve on the Health Care Committee where our work has been focusing on equity, access, and affordability. H. 721 Medicaid Expansion, H. 766 Prior Authorization and Claims Editing, and H. 622 Emergency Medical Services (EMS) are among key bills we are discussing and receiving testimony about.
With the possibility of federal subsidies for commercial health care plans ending in 2025 and with the increasing number of under-insured Vermonters, our committee is examining the cost and benefits of expanding Medicaid to help more Vermonters get the health care they need. With H. 766, we are evaluating existing prior authorization and claims processing systems in Medicaid, Medicare, and commercial health insurance.
My committee also joined the House Government Operations and Military Affairs Committee to hear testimony from EMS providers and the challenges facing them.
This month I presented a bill to explore expansion of transportation services into underserved rural areas. I also signed on as a sponsor for a tripartisan bill for housing. The Governor spoke about that bill earlier this month and I look forward to digging into the work as our legislative session continues. Transportation and housing are a large focus of this session because they are so important to supporting families and workforce development.
I signed onto bill H582 in response to concerns voiced by constituents about mass shootings. I hope to explore possible options for how we can increase public safety. I would like to hear from experts and members of the community to see what ideas there are for safeguards that can be put in place to help stop these tragic killings. It is clear from the responses I’ve already received that there are concerns about the approach the bill takes by focusing on semiautomatic assault weapons. I appreciate the thoughtful feedback I have received and what I have learned from it. I will re-examine the scope of the bill, taking citizens’ concerns into consideration while also looking at other ways to increase safety for our children and community.
I can be reached at [email protected] or call (802) 793-4679 to leave a message. House and Senate sessions and committee hearings are live-streamed or recorded. Bills, testimony and committee agendas can be found at legislature.vermont.gov.
(Rep. Carpenter represents the Lamoille-2 District of Wolcott, Hyde Park, Johnson, and Belvidere.)

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