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Howard Dean weighs in on Health Connect woes - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Howard Dean weighs in on Health Connect woes

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BURLINGTON, Vt. -

Reporter Kristin Carlson: As a past Governor do you have any advice for Governor Shumlin on how to deal with this problem?

Howard Dean: No, I actually think he's doing a pretty good job dealing with the problem.  The reason is, he saw early on that this wasn't going to work on time and he's got some back up plans that are going to work, so I'm actually optimistic.

But Dean says the state should not have hired CGI to build the online health exchange. The Shumlin administration paid CGI -- $84 million -- twice the original contract amount.  It's the same company working on the federal exchange. "The state exchanges are generally in better shape then the federal exchange.  We are at a disadvantage because we used the same company the national exchange used.  

Reporter Kristin Carlson: Do you think we shouldn't have?

Howard Dean: Of course I think we shouldn't but we did and how were we to know?

The health exchange roll out continues to dog Governor Shumlin.  At an energy news conference Monday he tried to thread the needle between acknowledging problems and pushing people to sign up.  Shumlin recounted the advice a supporter of Vermont Health Connect gave him over the weekend, "'Governor, I wish when you talk about challenges you faced -- I understand you faced plenty of them -- that you would tell people like me that it's working.  I signed up and I'm mighty glad to have affordable health insurance. Because it seems like you are such a downer that a lot of us don't go to the web site anymore,'" Shumlin said.

Shumlin went on to say the web site is getting better everyday, but warned people not expect one big announcement that it is all fixed -- Rather, it will be fixed in stages.  As of last week more than 3,000 people had signed up -- the goal is 100,000.

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