Vt. GOP leaders praise firing CGI but worry about replacement - WCAX.COM Local Vermont News, Weather and Sports-

Vt. GOP leaders praise firing CGI but worry about replacement

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MONTPELIER, Vt. - "The news yesterday of firing CGI I think was welcome news," said Lt. Gov. Phil Scott, R-Vermont.

Tuesday afternoon, Scott and the minority leaders from the Vermont House and Senate offered their thoughts on the change they consistently called for over the last 10 months. But they say the conversation's purpose is not a political victory lap ahead of November elections.

"I want this exchange to work," Scott said.

Scott calls oversight crucial to regaining Vermonters' confidence in what has been a problem-plagued health exchange rollout. Twenty-two thousand temporarily lost Medicaid coverage this year. The state is currently processing about 3,000 requested policy changes, while 8,800 Vermonters continue to wait their turn.

"Now it's time to really assess the scope of the project to ensure that we continue to use those resources wisely while delivering those that Vermonters so desperately need," said Rep. Don Turner, R-Milton.

The trio says they want an independent assessment of the state's exchange management and its decisions. They called for eliminating Vermont's individual mandate which forces those not covered through work to sign up for insurance through Vermont Health Connect. And they asked the administration to consider teaming up with neighboring states to create a larger, joint site.

"The concerns raised about making sure we do it correctly, certainly perfectly appropriate," said Vermont Health Reform Chief Lawrence Miller, who sat in on the conversation.

Miller says the state may lose more money and time if it makes leadership changes or alters the shape of the exchange.

"We are all worried about how to best serve Vermonters," Miller said.

"The biggest train we've ever faced is still coming down the track as we try to repair the bridge," said Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia County.

He's talking about the planned transition from the exchange to a single-payer system. These Republican leaders say the troubled Health Connect rollout convinced them the state isn't ready.

Republican leaders say they're also concerned that the new contractor, Optum, did not face a competitive process before securing its new role.

Miller says the state simply did not have time to go through the normal process which typically takes more than a year.

Progressive candidate Dean Corren, who hopes to replace Scott, issued a release Monday indicating his pleasure with the contractor change. Tuesday, he accused the Republicans of attempting to score political points while proposing unworkable solutions, and called the exchange problems solvable.

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Vermont drops CGI health care contract
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