I agree that it's an undesirable trend, but the way Motorola implemented removable storage on the X, X2 and Bionic made it all but worthless for me. Their mounting of internal (non-removable) storage as 'sdcard' and removable storage as 'sdcard-ext' resulted in almost everything that apps intended to store on removable media being stored on the internal memory. So when I bought my GSM Galaxy Nexus, I no longer cared that there was no removable storage. But for your intended use I don't see such poorly chosen mounting points as being an issue.
If you're not married to Verizon, you may want to consider the GPE S4 (as mentioned above) and an AT&T GoPhone plan, but the coverage map shows large uncovered areas in Idaho, so take a close look before dropping Verizon.