Despite Setbacks, Vermont Grassroots Campaign Pushes for First-in-Nation Single Payer Health Care System

Posted March 11, 2015

MP3 Interview with Anja Rudiger, director of programs with the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, conducted by Scott Harris


In May 2011, Vermont’s legislature approved and Democratic Gov. Shumlin signed Act 48, a bill which requires the state to establish a universal health care system by 2017. Gov. Shumlin described the plan, known as "Green Mountain Care," as "a single-payer system" that he believed "would control health care costs, not just by cutting fees to doctors and hospitals, but by fundamentally changing the state's health care system.”

Although studies had been conducted on how to best to design and implement Vermont’s new universal health care plan, in December 2014, Governor Shumlin announced that with an estimated $3 billion annual cost by the end of the decade, now was not the right time to go forward – and he put Green Mountain Care on hold. Many supporters of the universal health care plan were angry, with some burning their medical bills at the state capital in Montpellier and delivering a plate of burnt toast to Shumlin's office, suggesting that the governor's political career had been irreparably damaged.

In an effort to overcome this setback, a plan has now been developed to revive Green Mountain Care. The Vermont Worker’s Center and the National Economic & Social Rights Initiative, or NESRI, have published a study that they say lays out a concrete financing plan to affordably establish universal health care in Vermont by 2017. Between The Lines’ Scott Harris spoke with Anja Rudiger, director of programs with NESRI and one of the authors of the plan, who talks about their equitable financing proposal that has already been endorsed by over 100 economists. Find more information on the proposal to finance Vermont's universal health care system at and at

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