• Real leadership needed
    August 06,2014

    Real leadership needed

    In February of this year, a Newsweek article detailed how CGI, the company hired by the Shumlin administration to construct Vermont Health Connect (the state’s flailing health insurance “exchange”), deceived the people of Vermont into believing that the complex website was ready for customers. It turns out that the company had only shown still images that made the website look like it was operational, and it’s still unclear whether anyone within the governor’s administration was aware that this fraud was being committed.

    If you were personally paying for, or the chief executive officer managing this, wouldn’t you have fired the contractor and anyone on your team who was complicit when you discovered the chicanery?

    Luckily for the politicians and bureaucrats responsible — and who continue to insist that we can trust them with a single-payer, government-run health care system where they make our health care decisions — we live in a party state currently controlled by a single political party. There are no checks and no balances.

    As a result, no one has been held accountable for the failure of this system, the deception and half-truths. Most alarmingly, no one has been held accountable for the extraordinary waste of money — taxpayers are on the hook for an $83 million boondoggle that has completely failed to deliver on its promises to provide more affordable health insurance and easier access. At this point, they’re just throwing good money after bad hoping to salvage the system so they can declare political victory.

    Fast forward to July 1 when another national magazine reminded readers that Vermont Health Connect had a massive security breach due to CGI’s improper handling of security and the administration lack of oversight and expertise. There have now been several breaches. Still, there is no accountability.

    It’s more than just a pattern in the Shumlin administration — it’s standard operating procedure, and it starts in the corner office.

    This lack of accountability is the direct result of one-party rule, when governing is more about preserving political power and winning elections so they can advance a narrow and national ideological agenda; when it should be about legislating in a way that is in the best interest of working families and future generations.

    Will the governor be held accountable? Will he hold anyone in his administration accountable? Will the Legislature, or federal prosecutors, launch a special investigation so the paying public can know who is responsible? Will the press invest meaningful resources to investigate why CGI and the administration are allowed to continue to waste piles of money?

    When will the governor ask Secretary of Human Services Doug Racine, Commissioner Mark Larson and Robin Lunge — the three administration officials directly responsible for this disgraceful waste of money — to resign?

    There are thousands of Vermonters asking these very logical questions. And every one of them deserves honest answers.

    Reforming our health care system so it is affordable and accessible to Vermonters requires real, and honest, leadership — and balance in state government. Today, we don’t have either. But I’m hopeful Vermonters will recognize the importance of balance in Montpelier when they vote in November.

    Alan Parent


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