GOP calls for federal investigation of Vermont Health Connect contractor
Republican leaders from both chambers of the Legislature are calling for a federal investigation into allegations that technology firm CGI defrauded the state.
In a letter sent Wednesday to U.S. Attorney Tristram Coffin, the lawmakers requested that his office investigate "whistleblower allegations" regarding a potentially "fraudulent software demonstration" in July.
Those allegations received national attention when they were featured in a Newsweek article on the troubled rollout of Vermont Health Connect, the state's new health insurance market.
At the heart of the fraud allegation is whether CGI was able to demonstrate a live connection to the federal data hub, a key component of determining a person's eligibility for coverage through Vermont Health Connect. The article alleges that the demonstration was faked.
Mark Larson, commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access (DVHA), has repeatedly said he believes CGI showed a live connection to the federal hub, but the anonymous source cited in the Newsweek article said " the system was in no way operable during that demonstration."
"If it was (CGI) that duped the state officials, we need to know that," said Senate Minority Leader Joe Benning, R-Caledonia.
Benning said the request for an investigation is not politically motivated and comes from a desire to ensure that Vermont isn't being duped.
Republican Lt. Gov. Phil Scott joined House Minority Leader Don Turner, R-Milton, and other members of the House Republican caucus who want Gov. Peter Shumlin to delay requiring anyone to purchase health coverage through Vermont Health Connect until 2016.
"I'm here today as a business owner," Scott said. "As you know we are the only state in the union that has mandated employers with less than 50 employees to join the exchange."
Shumlin said Wednesday that the rollout of the exchange site is a disappointment, and his administration is working to fix it, but said it did not make sense to delay any of the purchasing requirements.
"Let's not delay things that are working, let's continue to take the website, take the Affordable Care Act and make them even better," he said.
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