In 1998, the tobacco industry settled its Medicaid lawsuit with 46 states by, among other things, agreeing to pay the states a minimum of $206 billion over the first 25 years of the agreement. In Vermont, our share was estimated to total $962 million.
In a sense, that was free money. We had no right to expect it. True, the tobacco companies were responsible for creating the problem in the first place, but sugar also has an impact on public health, and the sugar industry isn’t sending us million dollar checks.