Vermont official: lawmakers want too many reports
By DAVE GRAM
The Associated Press | April 10,2014
MONTPELIER — A top health care aide to Gov. Peter Shumlin told Vermont lawmakers Wednesday they may be demanding too much information too fast from her office.
Robin Lunge, state director of health care reform, told the House Health Care Committee on Wednesday that requests for information from the committee could require her three-person office to produce 21 reports between now and January.
“I’m just going to be totally blunt with you: We can’t do this many reports,” Lunge told the committee. “We are at the point where something’s got to give, either the scope or the resources or the time.”
She later said in an interview she expected the committee would pare the information requests it has listed as it considers a Senate-passed bill updating the 2011 law that set Vermont on a path toward a public health care system designed to cover all Vermonters.
Committee members replied that some of the demands for information reflected frustration with information provided by the Shumlin administration as it has rolled out the Vermont Health Connect exchange in accordance with the federal Affordable Care Act.
Shumlin and House Speaker Shap Smith wrote stinging letters of reprimand to Commissioner Mark Larson of the Department of Vermont Health Access in November after Larson had misled the House committee by saying there had been no website security lapses.
“We’ve got to frankly learn about the bad news from other people,” committee member Rep. Chris Pearson complained to Lunge on Wednesday.
“That does not make me feel like I’m part of a partnership with this administration toward health care reform at all,” Pearson said. “And that’s a very, very bad dynamic. To me, it is more directly about the exchange, but it dribbles into this (the plan for universal care) in a big, big way.”
The 2011 law said the administration was to come up with a plan to pay for universal health care by January 2013. It has not done so yet. Shumlin said at a news conference Wednesday that he would not agree to release documents prepared in the course of developing the plan.
“It’s hard to be transparent about things that you’re not ready to do because you haven’t figured it out,” he said.