Accountability is a must
Yesterday, Governor Shumlin finally did the right thing.
He delayed until March of next year the requirement that Vermonters buy insurance from a fatally flawed health care exchange.
But what is inescapable is the fact that this 11th hour action did not have to happen.
Independent auditors and evaluators have been warning the Shumlin administration for months about the disaster that was pending. But despite the repeated warnings, the administration continued, falsely, to tell Vermonters that everything was on track.
The administration’s current spin is that any criticism of its decisions should be ignored because it comes from those opposed to heath care reform. But this is not the case.
Simply stated, this is a story of poor management, lack of transparency, the award and expansion of multi-million-dollar no-bid contracts, and the application of political spin to avoid embarrassment.
It is a story of incompetence and hubris.
We are talking about real money. More than $170 million is committed to the exchange and over $370 million to health care reform.
Who will be held accountable? The administration’s spin is that this is no big deal because it is federal money, not Vermonters’. But we are all Americans, and it is our money. Someone is responsible.
Vermonters need an independent investigation by an impartial body. We need to find out what happened and who should be held accountable. And we need to recover the millions of dollars that the contractor’s performance failures have cost taxpayers.
We need a truly bipartisan blue ribbon commission, reporting to the public, the General Assembly and the governor, about what went wrong and how to fix it. We cannot trust an administration that got us into this mess to tell us honestly what went wrong and how to fix it.
The writer is former state auditor, state senator and Republican candidate for governor.