A non-profit health advocacy group, working with the American Public Health Association and Partnership for Prevention, has ranked Vermont the healthiest state in the country, the office of Gov. Jim Douglas announced last week. The ranking lists each state on 20 measures of wellness, including high school graduation, obesity and infant mortality rates, their focus on preventive medicine and wellness and the percentage of residents with health insurance. Douglas said Vermont can be proud of the ranking. In the last several years, we have taken extraordinary, even historic, steps toward achieving our goals of providing universal access to affordable health insurance for all Vermonters, improving quality and containing costs, and promoting healthy behavior and disease prevention across the entire lifespan through the Chronic Care Initiative, the Governor said. Our responsible, commonsense reforms are improving our health care system, aggressively contain costs, extending coverage to those currently without it and helping to make Vermont the healthiest state in the country. Last week, Douglas and members of the Legislature announced Green Mountain Care, the comprehensive family of low-cost and free health coverage programs for uninsured Vermonters. The newest program under Green Mountain Care is the much-anticipated Catamount Health which opened for enrollment on October 1, 2007. Other programs include the well-known Dr. Dynasaur program for uninsured kids, Vermont Health Access Plan (VHAP), Medicaid and Prescription Assistance programs. Green Mountain Care represents the most comprehensive package of health coverage options the state has ever seen, said Governor Jim Douglas. While we are very proud that more than 90 percent of Vermonters have health coverage, it is a top priority to offer everyone in our state access to affordable insurance. Although Vermonts reforms have been widely lauded as among the most far-reaching and comprehensive in the nation, Douglas said much remains to be done. We must remain vigilant in our quest to reduce the escalating costs of health care. Working together, we will continue to make life in Vermont, and health care in particular, affordable for everyone, he added.