Letter: Vermont Health Disconnect

To the Editor:

I read with increasing disgust and dismay Gov. Peter Shumlin’s responses to criticism of Vermont Health Connect, or what might more accurately be called Health Disconnect. As one of the unfortunates who has been legislated into this morass of incompetence, I would point out that it is a frustrating, annoying disaster. Vermont Blue Cross and Blue Shield, under which I personally had coverage, has been very helpful, with real people answering the phone. Unfortunately, our first mailed application to Vermont Health Connect disappeared in October into the black hole of Vermont governmental incompetence. After only 20 minutes on hold, my wife was able to “sign up” on Nov. 18. A second call on Dec. 3 took 31 minutes on hold to be told that the bills were being sent out in “batches” starting Dec. 2. Unfortunately, this was not true; they did not start mailing them until Dec. 6. The bill has still not arrived, so this is meaningless. Blue Cross and Blue Shield, as always, is responsive and helpful, but shackled by the blundering incompetence of Vermont Health Disconnect. Now we have received our end-of-coverage notice from Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

If Shumlin expected “problems,” why did he not address them? My fervent wish is that all Vermont government employees be required to go through this “exchange,” rather than have taxpayer-funded platinum plans from private out-of-state Cigna.

If tiny Vermont cannot deal with this, what is the prospect for the rest of the country? I fully expect a resounding victory message from Health and Human Service Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on Dec. 24, announcing what a success this disaster has been. And, by the way, if the “back end” hasn’t been written yet, what will hospitals, doctors and pharmacies do about being paid? I hope the voters suitably reward those who rammed this wonderful legislation through by party vote. Now that it is law, Congresswoman Pelosi, we finally know what it is.

Jonathan Vincent