Vermont's ObamaCare disaster isn't getting that much attention outside Vermont because everyone is focusing on the national ObamaCare disaster. But it's the same exact comedy of errors, complete with ridiculous costs, a dysfunctional site and an incompetent Democrat in charge of the whole mess.
And Michelle Obama's Princeton Pal's company, CGI Federal, also behind the mess.
Yesterday, after Republican pressure, Governor Shumlin was forced to extend the enrollment date into Vermont Health Connect to March 31st. With the website broken, Vermonters were encouraged to go low tech and fill out paper applications... and more realistically, apply through insurance companies, instead of the broken government website and navigators.
"This is the right move and Vermonters deserve this," said House Republican Minority Leader Don Turner. He said his caucus called on the Governor to implement contingencies and he says he's thankful for Thursday's action.
Governor Shumlin says despite making the plans available he still has faith the system will be operational, though he couldn't say how quickly that may happen.
Next century might be good. It is Vermont after all. But Shumlin's turnaround is already progress.
Vermont Health Connect, the state’s $170 million exchange, is “one of the most functional in the country,” according to Gov. Shumlin.
Gov. Shumlin first dismissed Vermont Health Connect’s missed opening date as a “nothing burger.” He then said the exchange would be operative by Nov. 1, and that unspecified people were “working 24/7” to get it going. Most recently, he waffled on the Nov. 1 deadline as well, saying it might be ready by Nov. 3.
Surprise. It won't be. How functional was Vermont Health Connect?
The site went live on Oct. 1 and has been fraught with technical problems. Navigators, business owners and individuals who have attempted to sign up for the program have been unable to get past frozen screens, error pages and the like.
“The website is working better today than it was yesterday; it will work better next week than it does this week,” Shumlin said. “We’re going to get this done over time.”
CGI has missed several deadlines, and the company recently shuffled around its leadership team in Vermont.
Last week, the Vermont League of Cities and Towns completed a survey of more than 170 municipalities.
Only about half of those municipalities have been able to create a username and password on the site. Of those 70 municipalities that were able to create an account, only about 35 towns and cities could actually add information to the account after it was created. Only about 17 towns and cities were able to actually submit employee rosters to the state system to insure their employees.
Not that this is going to be a problem. It's not like this is the linchpin of a disastrous big government health care scheme by people who can't even run a website.
Oh but wait...
Thanks to an unique monopoly feature of Vermont’s Act 171 (2012), Vermonters who are thwarted by an inoperative exchange site cannot choose to continue their present coverage with their present insurer.
The reason for the monopoly is that Gov. Shumlin and his single payer allies are trying everything possible to lure or force people into the exchange before 2017. On that date state-run, taxpayer-financed Green Mountain Care is supposed to replace all health insurance.
This $3+ billion single payer plan will be financed in large measure with a federal block grant equal to the sum of all the Obamacare tax credits paid on behalf of the people buying through Vermont Health Connect. (GMC will also require an enormous payroll tax increase, as the governor has recently admitted.) Forcing the insured into the exchange will maximize that hoped-for (but by no means assured) federal payment.
Can't see any reason why it won't all work out. Surely running health insurance for everyone is bound to be easier than running a website.