Health Care Reform

401(K) 2013/Creative Commons

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin says he's cautiously optimistic that in several weeks the state will have an agreement with the federal government for an "all-payer waiver" to change how health care providers are paid.

Governor Peter Shumlin
Courtesy VT Governor's Office

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin will be in the nation's capital Wednesday to seek an "all-payer waiver" from the federal government.

Pixabay/Public Domain

Republican leaders in the Vermont legislature are asking for a federal investigation of the state's spending on its health care exchange and reforms, with a particular focus on a contract with embattled health economist Jonathan Gruber.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

A House member critical of some of Vermont’s health care reform measures is expected to be removed from the House Health Care Committee.

Juhan Sonin/flickr

The director of health reform for Governor Peter Shumlin says the biggest threat to a plan to make Vermont the first state in the country with a universal, publicly funded health care system was the federal government.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

In what has become a minor national political scandal, an economist’s controversial comments on the Affordable Care Act have cost him consulting fees. But he will complete his work on a financing plan for Vermont’s single-payer health care system.

Massachusetts Institute of Technology

Three Vermont lawmakers are urging the administration of Governor Peter Shumlin to sever ties with a Massachusetts Institute of Technology economist who was shown on video saying it was the "stupidity of the American voter" that helped pass national health care reform.

Officials in Massachusetts launched a new effort this week to educate people about the cost of health care.  The prices charged by different hospitals, clinics, and physician practices for hundreds of common medical procedures are available online.  So, the idea is people in need of a new knee or an MRI can find the best deal.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with the Massachusetts Undersecretary for Consumer Affairs Barbara Anthony.

WAMC/Pat Bradley

Vermont’s lieutenant governor and the minority leaders of the House and Senate, all Republicans, met at the Statehouse Tuesday to discuss the Shumlin Administration’s move to fire the company that designed and has provided technical support for the state’s health care exchange.

Juhan Sonin/flickr

A critic of Vermont's health care reform efforts says the governor's recommitment to creating the nation's first single payer health care system is a threat to the Vermont economy.


While Obamacare is being rolled out across the country Massachusetts, which pioneered the health care reform, is moving to the next step—cost containment.  A watchdog agency charged with monitoring health care delivery and payment reforms recently held two days of hearings to examine health care cost trends.  The state has set a cost growth benchmark at 3.6 percent for this year and next. WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with the chairman of the Health Policy Commission, Dr. Stuart Altman.


A group of physicians opposed to Vermont’s move to create a single-payer health care system is warning that planned changes could drive practitioners out of the state.

Implementation of health care exchanges, a key facet of the Affordable Care Act, is being delayed in states where the federal government is controlling them. The move is not expected to affect Vermont’s rollout of its state controlled system.

Leon Brooks

Massachusetts ,which pioneered universal access to health insurance, is now beginning the next phase of healthcare reform: reining in the run-away costs.  The executive director of the new agency responsible for implementing the state’s cost containment law was in Springfield on Thursday.

Vermont Agency of Administration

The Shumlin Administration released its Health Care Reform Financing Plan late last week.  This week a group of advocates and Republican lawmakers criticized the report, saying it offered no real outline for financing the state’s proposed single payer health care system.


Vermont has received conditional federal approval for its plan to create a consumer-friendly health insurance exchange.

Vermont is among a number of  states that have received word from the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services that they are compliant with regulations, and have appropriately outlined timelines that will allow them to have a health exchange running by October 1.

     A small college in Springfield Massachusetts has been awarded a federal grant for its nursing school.  It will help respond to a  national call for a more  highly educated and ethnically diverse workforce in nursing.  WAMC’s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill reports

No sooner had the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in support of the constitutionality of the federal health care reform law, than a new attack was launched on health coverage for the poor.

One provision of the Affordable Care Act dramatically expanded the Medicaid program – which provides health insurance for the poor.  The ACA requires that states have to expand coverage to those who make just above poverty level.  If a state refused the expansion, the federal government would withdraw its funding of that state’s program.


Last week, the U.S. Supreme Court upheld the federal health care reform law which is critical to improving access to quality, affordable health care for people with cancer and their families.

The ruling is a victory for cancer patients and survivors nationwide, who for decades have been denied health coverage, charged far more than they can afford for lifesaving care, and forced to spend their life savings on necessary treatment, simply because they have a pre-existing condition.

The Federal Health Care Law has people divided across the country, but how will it affect access to care in Massachusetts -a state with its own insurance mandate in place since 2006? WAMC’s Berkshire Bureau Chief Lucas Willard reports…

Chip Joffee-Halpern, executive director of Ecu Healthcare – a private organization in North Adams that connects citizens with health care options – says that the Affordable Care Act will help fill in some of the gaps in coverage for those who may be ineligible for Massachusetts’ Commonwealth Care – but can’t afford their own coverage.

       WAMC"s Pioneer Valley Bureau Chief Paul Tuthill spoke with Springfield Massachusetts based political consultant Anthony Cignoli, who commented on the political impact of Thursday's US Supreme Court ruling.