GOP leaders call for 'scrubbing' of exchange rollout


Top Republicans say firing the Canadian company that was building the state's health insurance website was long overdue and state officials who oversaw the botched rollout of Vermont Health Connect might need to be fired.

Lt. Gov. Phil Scott and two Republican legislative leaders held a press conference at the Statehouse Tuesday to respond to Monday's news that the state is ending its contract with CGI in September.

GOP leaders said they want to know if the problems with Vermont Health Connect were the result of bad management or technical difficulties.

Scott called CGI's firing "welcome news," and said it should have happened six months ago. The Shumlin administration notified him only a few hours beforehand, he said.

House and Senate minority leaders Rep. Don Turner, R-Milton, and Sen. Joe Benning, R-Caledonia, said they were blindsided by the news Monday.

"We want to see that people that were involved in this process, whether it be all CGI's fault or just the administration, we think that there needs to be a real scrubbing of what happened before we go forth," Turner said.

Pressed on whether the people who were in charge, namely Mark Larson, commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access, which was responsible for building the exchange, should be fired, Turner said he wants more information before making that judgement.

Gov. Peter Shumlin said last month that he does not plan to make any changes in the leadership for health care reform and that it is his responsibility to fix Vermont Health Connect.

After the news conference, Lawrence Miller, chief of health care reform for the Shumlin administration, defended the health care reform staff, and said he doesn't want to fire anyone, especially because so much "tuition money" has been invested in the people who have helped to build the exchange.

Scott said the press conference was meant to be constructive, not political.

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


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