On Monday Republican party chair David Sunderland wrote to Governor Peter Shumlin, requesting information on the state's botched health insurance exchange. His public record request asks for "A full accounting be provided for all overtime hours worked, number of temporary workers hired, and the total cost impact to state and federal taxpayers as a result of processing paper applications for health insurance."
The request follows Shumlin's December 10 mandate, to 130 state employees, that they work 56 hours a week processing thousands of paper applications to enroll Vermonters in the healthcare exchange. Shumlin declared an emergency because his $84 million website (arguably the most expensive website in history, per capita) still doesn't work.
Since (surprise) paper applications aren't as efficient as their online counterparts, a lot of (angry) state workers are racking up a lot of overtime. And even though we remain baffled how the governor's lack of preparation, performance and competence became an emergency for the taxpayer to bail him out of, we too are curious about the cost.
Sunderland also asks the governor to "guarantee Vermonters that everyone who has applied for health care coverage through Vermont Health Connect -- electronically or by paper application -- will have both coverage and plan information by January 1, 2014."
Here again we're glad that Sunderland wants to hold the governor to account. But we humbly remind everyone that a Shumlin guarantee on healthcare is worth its weight in "nothing burgers."
Sunderland concludes, "While we remain concerned that your plan for another radical restructuring of our health insurance system in 2017 will drive up costs and drive down the level of access and quality of care for Vermonters, we are most immediately concerned that those mandated into the exchange be guaranteed, seamless and fully continuous coverage throughout its tumultuous roll-out."
At this point there are scant few Vermonters who are "guaranteed, seamless and fully continuous coverage" so we'll be interested to see what the governor comes up with in response.