For Immediate Release

February 19, 2014
Vermont House Republicans Call On The Governor To Hear The Bi-partisan Calls for 1 Year Delay of Vermont Health Connect
Montpelier, VT – Nearly five months since the troubled launch of Vermont Health Connect we learned Friday, from BCBS CEO Don George, the system will not be fully functioning until August of this year. Yet it must be fully functioning by October 2014 for Vermonters to be able to purchase health insurance on Vermont Health Connect (VHC) for January 2015 enrollment. Democratic Senator Dick Mazza called for a 1 year delay of VHC on “You Can Quote Me” on Sunday. The system isn’t ready for ‘prime time’.
Our greatest concern as Republican legislators is about the future and quality of Vermonters’ health care, not ideology. As we look forward, we are concerned that the greatest challenges to reducing cost, improving access, and continuing high quality health care lie ahead of us. Over the last year, this administration has continually said that building VHC was the easy part of these challenges. We agree. It is imperative that as we move forward to more difficult reforms that the state have qualified and capable personnel to manage the process. It is clear to us that the current team in charge of VHC is not up to the task based on events that have unfolded since October. Vermonters deserve better.
Why does this matter to Vermonters? We know that past performance is a good indicator of the future. If health care reform is going to be successful in the future we must fix and learn from past mistakes.
We have listened to six weeks of updates by Commissioner Mark Larson to the House Health Care Committee. We have also heard numerous concerns and complaints from our constituents who are facing daily challenges with signing up on VHC. “Last week these updates included a briefing on 7 more privacy/security breaches that are known and countless privacy/security problems that are unknown. Vermonters should not be forced to use a website that doesn’t work properly and puts their individual personal information at risk. Today, I call on the Governor to join with us and delay VHC for the good of all Vermonters” said Representative Mary Morrissey.
Representative Doug Gage added “VHC has been unable to fix the website to allow for ‘change of circumstance’ information to be changed by the consumer. This has resulted in many Vermonters being unable to enroll with VHC in a timely and efficient manner and many have spent countless hours on the website and on the phone with VHC. The wait times at the call center are down to 28 seconds because the call center cannot help the callers with these issues and so little time is spent on the phone, freeing up the call center but leaving the consumer at a dead end. It’s way past time to delay VHC and I hope the Governor will do what is right for all Vermonters an delay this system until the website is fully functioning and can fully meet Vermonters needs.”
Kaitlin Francis, a Vermonter who has tried since November to sign up for Vermont Health Connect and as of today still does not have health insurance, is here today to share her concerns. “The Governor has the opportunity to push the pause button, build a new team and go back to the drawing board to get this right. The well-being of Vermonters is at risk here. It’s our job to represent their interests as we promised; Vermonters deserve it.
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