NEWS: Sanders Hires Vermont Health Care Leader for Key Role on HELP Committee Staff

BURLINGTON, Vt., March 14 – Sen. Bernie Sanders (I-Vt.) on Tuesday announced David Reynolds, his former health policy advisor and a longtime health care leader in Vermont, has rejoined the office as Sanders takes up the gavel as chair of the Senate Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions (HELP) Committee. Reynolds will be focusing on policy to strengthen access to primary health care and address workforce shortages across the country.

“My whole career has involved working on access to health care,” said Reynolds. “With Senator Sanders now chairing the Senate health committee, we have an opportunity and an obligation to improve primary care and address health workforce shortages. I am excited to help make Vermonters’ lives better and thank Senator Sanders for the opportunity to work with him again.”

For more than three decades, Reynolds has worked to strengthen health care in Vermont and across the nation. Affectionately known by many as the “Godfather of Vermont Health Centers,” Reynolds founded and led Northern Counties Health Care (NCHC) in 1976, Vermont’s first Federally Qualified Health Center. Today, NCHC provides quality care to more than one-third of Vermonters in its region, including dental care, primary care, home health care, and hospice services.

Reynolds joined Sanders’ office in 2007 after Sanders was first elected to the Senate. In that role, Reynolds assisted Sanders in pushing forward his signature provisions of the federal Affordable Care Act – a multi-billion-dollar investment in mandatory funding to support community health centers through the creation of the Community Health Center Fund. Since its inception in 2010, the Fund has invested over $35 billion to ensure all Americans – including one-in-three Vermonters – have access to quality primary, mental, and oral health care, as well as affordable prescription drugs and substance use disorder treatment regardless of their ability to pay.

Recently, Sanders held a HELP Committee hearing entitled, “Community Health Centers: Saving Lives, Saving Money.” Sanders also recently called for a historic expansion of community health centers during remarks to Advocates for Community Health saying, “Community health centers are one of the success stories of our broken health care system. We must expand these programs so that every American has the ability to access the primary health care, dental care, mental health counseling, and low-cost prescription drugs that they desperately need.”

Reynolds, who will commute between Vermont and Washington, will lead this effort to protect and expand funding for community health centers, set to expire later this year.