Oregon has advanced closer to establishing its own health insurance exchange as the state’s Senate approves of nine people to serve as board members for the exchange. The nine were chosen by Governor John Kitzhaber based upon their backgrounds in the health care, insurance and legislative fields. The state Senate unanimously approved the Governor’s nominees showing that the state’s Legislature is well on its way to forming an exchange that will help residents find affordable health insurance coverage.
Governor Kitzhaber believes that part of what will make the exchange successful is the varying perspectives held by its governing body. Given that the board members come from varied backgrounds, they each bring a unique point of view that can be attributed to the exchange and how it is run. Kitzhaber notes that the exchange, as governed by his nominees, will help small businesses afford health insurance for their employees and make the private insurance market more robust.
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Of the nine, Liz Baxter, former executive director of the “We Can Do Better health Care” advocacy group, will serve as the board’s chair. Baxter is being tasked to lead the efforts in establishing an exchange and to ensure that the program meets the requirements set up by the state. The board will officially convene for the first time on September 30 to outline their plans for moving forward.