The top Republicans in the Vermont State Legislature are calling for a federal investigation into the state’s spending of more than $100 million of federal funds since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.
State Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning (R-Caledonia) and State House Minority Leader Don Turner (R-Milton) say in a statement that they, “have sent a letter to the Inspector General [of the Department of Health and Human Services] seeking a review of all federal dollars expended by the Shumlin Administration in Vermont since the passage of the Affordable Care Act.”
“We’ve been waiting for the appropriate time to send this request, and in light of Monday’s report by Auditor Doug Hoffer regarding the work done by Jonathan Gruber, we feel now is the time,” the duo said in a statement.
As Breitbart News reported, Hoffer’s report concluded that Gruber likely overbilled Vermont in a 2014 contract he secured to help Governor Peter Shumlin develop a plan for the implementation of a single-payer health care system in the state. Shumlin temporarily abandoned that plan, at least for 2015, in December.
“Vermonters should have improved access, more affordable plans, and a variety of health care choices for all the money that has been expended to date by Governor Shumlin and his Administration,” Representative Turner stated.
Turner and Benning also sent a letter to the Inspector General of the Department of Health and Human Services, Daniel Levinson, in which they formalized their request.
“As minority leaders of the Vermont House and Senate we hereby formally request a federal oversight and investigation into allegations alleging inappropriate use of federal funds for use in building VHC (VT Health Care Exchange). Vermont has spent more than $100 million to build the state exchange system,” they wrote.
“Vermont’s state exchange has never worked and more money has been spent to try to repair the IT system and still the system is not fully functioning and may not even be secure,” they continued.
Turner and Benning noted that the first vendor, CGI, “was fired in September and Optum was hired to repair, fix and get the Exchange fully functional. Months later the IT and website doesn’t work and Vermonters are struggling to get coverage.”
“Governor Shumlin and his team,” Benning and Turner told I.G. Levinson, “have not been able to successfully manage this IT project. In fact, independent reports show the lack of management to be a major factor in Vermont Health Connect not working.”
The failures have had a significant impact on the health care of Vermont residents.
“As a result,” the lawmakers wrote, “many Vermonters are not receiving invoices from Vermont Health Connect (VHC) and then are being terminated from the system without notice.”
“In other cases,” they continued, “Vermonters are paying VHC [Vermont Health Connect], but Vermont Health Connect is not transferring the collected payments to the insurance carriers on time and this is resulting in Vermonters also being terminated without notice. Today we are hearing from Vermonters who provided their financial information to VHC as required by law to determine subsidies.”
“This information was apparently incorrectly reported to the IRS and they are now being penalized. They are losing portions of their federal refunds, having subsidies reduced and being required to settle for less appealing insurance plans due to increasing cost,” they concluded.
Benning and Turner delivered a blunt bottom line to IG Levinson.
“This is all a result of poor management by the Shumlin Administration,” they concluded.
Breitbart News contacted Inspector General Levinson’s office and asked if he intended to initiate the investigation requested by Benning and Turner but did not receive a response.