Shumlin In a Hole, Keeps Digging

Vermonters for Health Care Freedom

Thirty days after Vermonters for Health Care Freedom first called on Governor Shumlin to issue a waiver as outlined in ACT 171, so that Vermonters would not lose or have a lapse in their insurance – the Governor finally acted to protect Vermonters from his failed website and Vermont Health Connect.

Vermonters with insurance will be able to extend their current insurance through March 31st or purchase exchange insurance directly from BCBC or MVP.

“During the debate of ACT 171 we supported and advocated for individuals and small business to purchase directly from the insurance providers. It was good for Vermonters then and it is a great relief to them now,” said Darcie Johnston.

When the legislature returns in January, Vermonters for Health Care Freedom will be working aggressively to make purchasing directly from insurance providers a, permanent part of the law. “We see no reason for Vermont Health Connect to continue. The Governor has spent hundreds of millions of dollars of taxpayer money for a failed system that if fully functional would cost more than $20 million to maintain and run every year (a $60 million additional investment for a system that will terminate in 2017). This is a total waste of Vermonters tax dollars and Vermont should let the federal government be responsible for the Vermont Exchange,” Johnston added.

We will also be seeking legislation that lifts Vermont’s the individual and small business mandate to purchase insurance only through the Exchange. “Vermonters should have the same rights as individuals in the other 49 states to either buy on the exchange or directly from insurance providers. Vermonters deserve choice and freedom in making their health care plan decisions,” continued Johnston.

In addition, Vermonters for Health Care Freedom calls on legislators to support a tri-partisan investigation seeking a full oversight review of what went wrong with Vermont Health Connect. “This must be a truly transparent and independent review by a qualified unbiased independent contractor, working with legislators and Vermont technology experts.

“Governor Shumlin and his administration need to start being fully transparent and forthcoming. Vermonters are angry and rightly so. The Governor knowing launched and continued operating Vermont Health Connect when he and his staff knew the website had fatal flaws and would not operate successfully. He also knew he had the ability to invoke the waiver at any time to save people all the grief and aggravation they have had to go through. Vermonters wasted countless hours trying to access and sign up on this failed system. Governor Shumlin, Commissioner Larson, Deputy Commission Lindsay Tucker and Robin Lunge all owe Vermonters a sincere apology”, continued Johnston.

Today, Vermonters for Health Care Freedom calls on Governor Shumlin to immediately terminate Commissioner Larson, Deputy Commissioner Tucker, and Robyn Lunge. “The Governor needs to bring qualified managers with the demonstrated technical skills to (1) determine the fate of Vermont Health Connect and (2) collect all penalties owed to Vermont from CGI or any other contractor that failed to meet the terms of their contract with Vermont Health Connect,” concluded Johnston.