Advocates disrupt insurance exchange meeting

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Yesterday, advocates spoke out during the CT Health Insurance Exchange Board meeting to protest the lack of consumer voices on the Board. The Board has been widely criticized for lacking any voting consumer members, despite federal regulations that call for consumers to comprise a majority of voting members. Several members of the Board called for more transparency, better communication and regular opportunities for public comment. Jeanette DeJesus, Special Advisor to the Governor on Health Reform, expressed support for the protestors. The Board is quickly staffing up and expects to have most of the important operational pieces in place by the next meeting scheduled for March 15th. Advocates have called for legislation, effective immediately, to add consumer and small business votes to the Board before the next meeting to ensure stakeholder input into those critical decisions. CT is among a small minority of states moving this quickly to establish exchanges; most states have not yet decided whether to run their exchange themselves or let the federal government do it. The Board has hired a public relations firm to collect input from stakeholder groups including consumers, brokers, small businesses, insurers and providers. The consultants will be holding meetings across the state in the next week. Those meetings were to be invitation-only but Board members at the meeting insisted in opening them to the public.
Ellen Andrews