Debacle In Vermont: DGA Chair’s Home State ObamaCare Exchange In Shambles

“Democrat Governors Association chair and Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin may want to stop spending so much time helping other Democrats get elected and start paying attention to the problems in his own state. As we continue to see in states across the country, Vermont is the latest to face an ObamaCare state exchange disaster. Despite Vermont being home to some of Obama’s biggest supporters, asNewsweek’s Lynnley Browning puts it, if ObamaCare ‘can’t make it there, some argue, it can’t make it anywhere.’” – RGA Communications Director Gail Gitcho

Shumlin’s Vermont Is The Latest State To Face An ObamaCare Exchange Disaster

Vermont’s ObamaCare Exchange Website Is Dysfunctional. “There is no way for small businesses, the heart of Vermont’s economy, to purchase coverage online; instead, they have to buy insurance directly from one of two state-approved insurers.” (Lynnley Browning, “Doubling Down On Obamacare,” Newsweek, 2/6/14)

Newsweek’s Lynnley Browning: “If Obamacare Gets Blown Up By Congress Later This Year, You Might Want To Thank . . . The State Of Vermont. If It Can’t Make It There, Some Argue, It Can’t Make It Anywhere.” (Lynnley Browning, “Doubling Down On Obamacare,” Newsweek, 2/6/14)

$167.9 Million – And Half A Billion Planned – For Only A Few

Vermont Is Spending $167.9 Million In Federal Taxpayer Money – More Than Any Other State In The Nation – Despite Having Only 43,000 Uninsured Residents.  “… [Vermont] is consistently ranked as one of the nation’s healthiest, and it boasts the smallest number of uninsured residents of any state in the nation, some 43,000 people. Yet Vermont is spending more federal money, $167.9 million, than any other state in the nation on uninsured residents, according to Newsweek calculations based on data from the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS) and the U.S. Census Bureau.” (Lynnley Browning, “Doubling Down On Obamacare,” Newsweek, 2/6/14)

  • “Larger States That Are Spending Less But Have Higher Numbers Of Uninsured Include Connecticut, Massachusetts, Minnesota And Rhode Island, Plus The District Of Columbia. Massachusetts, For Example, Has 272,000 Uninsured Among Its 6.5 Million Residents – Yet It Is Spending $134.4 Million In Federal Money Building Its Marketplace. Connecticut Is Spending Nearly As Much As Vermont, Some $164 Million, But It Has 284,000 Uninsured People. Washington, D.C., With 50,000 Uninsured, Is Spending $133.4 Million.” (Lynnley Browning, “Doubling Down On Obamacare,” Newsweek, 2/6/14)


Vermont Hopes To Get More Federal Money Over The Next Five Years – Increasing The Taxpayer’s Price Tag To Over $427 Million. “Instead of apologizing for that disparity, Vermont hopes that pool of federal dollars will get even bigger. Over five years, as the state expands its Medicaid program and integrates non-health services – such as food and heating assistance – with the exchange, the price tag will rise to $427.5 million, thanks largely to future federal grants Vermont hopes to get, according to BerryDunn, an accounting and consulting firm based in Portland, Me.” (Lynnley Browning, “Doubling Down On Obamacare,” Newsweek, 2/6/14)

  • “Vermont’s Plan To Score Nearly Half A Billion Dollars Will Save It Just $18.4 Million A Year On What It Now Spends On Overtime Wages, Temporary Workers And Paper Processing Of Invoices For Health And Other Social Services, The Report Said.” (Lynnley Browning, “Doubling Down On Obamacare,” Newsweek, 2/6/14)

Vermont’s “Fuzzy” Numbers

Vermont Claims To Have Enrolled Over 15,000 Residents; However It’s Not Clear If Those Were Online Or Paper Enrollments Or If They “Cross[ed]The Finish Line” And Purchased A Policy. “Website glitches aside, Vermont boasts one eye-catching figure: It has seen the greatest percentage of eligible residents – 15,015 out of 43,000 people – successfully enroll and select a health plan. The state expects an additional 55,000 Vermonters who work for small businesses to eventually enroll. But that’s where Vermont’s numbers start to get fuzzy. ‘Select’ doesn’t mean ‘cross the finish line’ – actually buying a policy.” (Lynnley Browning, “Doubling Down On Obamacare,” Newsweek, 2/6/14)

  • Newsweek’s Lynnley Browning: Center For Medicare & Medicaid Services Data “Suggests That Thousands Of Vermonters Are Still Bedeviled By Website Failures.” “CMS data show that as of December 28, 2013, nearly 37,000 Vermonters had applied for coverage both online and via paper and been approved as eligible – the first of many hurdles to getting insurance. The difference between that 37,000 in the early stage and the 11,943 who have actually crossed the finish line suggests that thousands of Vermonters are still bedeviled by website failures.”(Lynnley Browning, “Doubling Down On Obamacare,” Newsweek, 2/6/14)

Despite Continued Problems, Shumlin Continues To Push For Government-Run Health Car 

“But Shumlin Pushed Ahead This Week With Plans To Convince Legislators To Approve A Doubling Of Health-Care Claims Taxes, Paid By Insurers But Passed On Via Higher Premiums To Consumers. Last Month, He Told Legislators In His Annual Budget Address That He Would ‘Continue To Push For The Best Health-Care System In The Nation.’” (Lynnley Browning, “Doubling Down On Obamacare,” Newsweek, 2/6/14)

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