GOP wants Vermont firms hired to work on health website

The Vermont Republican Party is calling on the Shumlin administration to use in-state vendors to work on the troubled Vermont Health Connect website.

The GOP took aim at a contract with Benaissance, based in Omaha, Neb., a subcontractor for CGI that is being paid more than $1.4 million to process payments made through the exchange.

“The VTGOP has nothing against the Corn Husker state, but given the dismal job creation we’ve seen under Gov. Shumlin’s leadership … The very least Gov. Shumlin could do is guarantee to Vermonters that those processing jobs will be done by a business here in Vermont,” said state GOP chairman David Sunderland in a statement Tuesday.

Republicans aren’t the only ones concerned about outsourcing. Rep. Paul Poirier, an independent from Barre, raised similar concerns last week questioning why a Vermont firm hadn’t been hired to handle payments.

The outsourcing took on added significance given the backlog of people waiting for their payments to be processed. Trinka Kerr, the state’s health care advocate, told lawmakers it was taking as long as two weeks for some people’s checks to clear.

Checks mailed to the Williston address provided through the exchange are sent from there to Nebraska, processed and returned.

Decisions by contractors to subcontract out their work are subject to state approval. Mark Larson, commissioner of the Department of Vermont Health Access, told lawmakers that Benaissance was selected through a competitive bid process.

No Vermont companies responded to the state’s request for bids, Larson said.

Morgan True

Comments

  1. Wendy wilton :

    As if VHC couldn’t get more screwed up.

  2. Lyle M. Miller, Sr. :

    This is just another example of Shumlin’s lack of leadership qualities. He seems to be bent on acting first and thinking later when things begin to go sour on him, all the time seeking to blame others for his missteps or at least not taking responsibility for his actions as he did with his dealings with his neighbor on a sour land deal

    • Hale Irwin :

      Very True.

  3. Faeterri Silver :

    And so we should. What are we a bunch of hypocrites? Local, local, local.

  4. James Rude :

    If Burlington is ranked among the top 10 Tech hubs, and no city in Nebraska carries that distinction, maybe the GOP is raising a good point.

  5. David Dempsey :

    Larson says no Vermont companies responded to the request for bids. Some news stories said that CGI did the search for the subcontractor to process payments. If that is true the state would have to approve the selected business. Other stories said that the state handled the search through its normal state rfp process. Which was used and where can I read the proposal and contract. Larsons statements recently makes his credibilty dubious at best.

  6. One line of thought, which makes sense to me, is that the stakes for such a local project are far too high for a Vermont company to attempt. Burning bridges, etc. See this recent Twitter thread:

    https://twitter.com/tylermachado/status/424247628969168897

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