Day 33 – Medicaid at 50: State Highlight: Vermont

Basics: Vermont Medicaid covers 185,478 people

Vermont is famous for things like beautiful nature and Ben & Jerry’s, but for a certain group of people, Vermont’s real claim to fame is health policy. This little state of under 627,000 people has been moving and shaking for decades. In 1989, they created Dr. Dynasaur, which achieved almost universal coverage for kids — nearly 10 years before CHIP. More recently, VT tried to move to a single payer system (they were planning to use a 1332 waiver), but had to scrap this ambitious plan in December 2014 due to cost. Despite this setback, Vermont is still as busy as ever, working on many payment and delivery reforms. For example, they’re using the Health Home option to enhance community-based treatment of opioid addiction. Vermont has been especially hard hit by the opioid epidemic, and has sought to address it by expanding access to medication-assisted treatment (MAT). HHS recommended this approach as a national best practice just this month — once again, Vermont is ahead of the curve.

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