Secretary Al Gobeille discusses priorities at the Vermont Agency of Human Services

At some point or another most Vermonters will cross paths with the Agency of Human Services. The agency is home to some of the the largest entities of state government — the Department of Health; Department for Children and Families; Department of Vermont Health Access; Corrections; Mental Health; and the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living operate under its organizational umbrella.

Last December, Gov. Phil Scott picked former Green Mountain Care Board Chair Al Gobeille to lead the agency. Gobeille brings years of management experience to the position, from operating Gobeille Hospitality, his Burlington-based restaurant business, to overseeing hospital budgets and insurance company rate-setting as chair of the Green Mountain Care Board.

In this episode of Vote for Vermont, co-hosts Pat McDonald and Ben Kinsley interview Gobeille about his recent work, which ranges from implementing the Affordable Care Act in Vermont to addressing the opioid crisis.

On the fate of Obamacare, Gobeille says it needs to be “fixed and repaired,” not taken back to where health care stood before the health law passed. “The Affordable Care Act took about four years to implement. … It would take equally as long of a time period to unwind it,” he said.

Speaking about the opioid crisis, Gobeille says it “has had an impact in every corner of our state and in everything that AHS does.”

Vermont’s Human Services secretary also discusses state mental health challenges, pre-kindergarten and meeting seniors’ needs in what is now the second oldest state in the nation by age demographics.

Watch full episode:

3 thoughts on “Secretary Al Gobeille discusses priorities at the Vermont Agency of Human Services

  1. “Budget pressures continue to increase, particularly on our smallest schools, while taxpayers are screaming for relief. Instead of making decisions about how to invest in our children’s future, they are being forced to make decisions about where to pull back. An infusion of international students would diversify our student populations, introduce new revenue, and create more educational opportunities for our Vermont students.

    The infrastructure to implement such a plan is already in place; A number of non-profit organizations already recruit students internationally, and the F-01 Visa program is widely used to tuition students to the United States. Implementing a program like this at a statewide level could leverage recruiting and placement in a way that has not yet been done elsewhere. Filling just half of our excess capacity could bring $350 million into the state, rivaling the ski industry for direct economic impact.

    Let’s make Vermont an education destination and revolutionize our Pre-K through 12 education system.”

    Where are all those yummy funding dollars coming from? If it’s other U.S. taxpaying citizens, where is the gain? Another case of robbing Pete to pay Paul? Revolutions have unforseen (unintended) consequences. If it’s Federal money, how much more government influence would there be on VT education? I personally knew one such student visa holder years ago who enrolled in a state college, only to withdraw Failing and leave the country. Whoever/whatever paid the tuition remains a mystery to me.

  2. ‘…the largest entities of state government — the Department of Health; Department for Children and Families; Department of Vermont Health Access; Corrections; Mental Health; and the Department of Disabilities, Aging and Independent Living operate under its organizational umbrella.”

    Vermont needs a few more “Departments” for its 650,000 residents. Otherwise we’ll be outstripped by the feds in the move toward creating an even more impenetrable bureaucracy.

  3. I think this was a pretty good interview, and would have continued to watch it a little longer, as Al Gobeille was just getting to the Dept of Corrections. I was impressed with the forthcoming of answers and straightforward questions that both interviewers were asking, especially Ben Kinsley. For such a youthful looking guy, he was on his toes and sounded engaged and helped keep the momentum going. Pat did very well too, with her knowledge and questions, as I mentioned, I enjoyed watching the interview and then shared it to Facebook afterwards.
    Overall, good job!

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