Mass. Healthcare Exchange Consultants a 'Hot Commodity'

Friday, 13 Jul 2012 12:01 PM

By Greg McDonald

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Some states are increasingly looking to Massachusetts for help in establishing insurance exchange programs similar to the one created under the healthcare law that Mitt Romney pushed through as governor.
According to the Boston Globe, several experts in the Massachusetts program who once worked for the former governor are currently briefing officials in a number of states about the exchange program.
The state insurance exchanges are a key part of Obamacare and, like the Massachusetts health reform law championed by Romney, are designed to drive down the cost of coverage by creating a forum where people can shop and buy among competing plans. 
In Massachusetts, the exchange set up under the state healthcare plan passed in 2006, which was the nation’s first universal health coverage system, is called the Health Connector.
“The fingerprints of the Massachusetts Connector are clearly visible in the work going on everywhere,” Jon Kingsdale, former executive director of the Connector Authority, told the Globe.
Kingsdale has consulted in some 15 states since the nation’s healthcare reform law was passed in 2010. The Globe reported that he flew to Oregon earlier this week to talk with representatives from 10 more states about setting up exchange programs.
Tufts Health Plan chief executive James Roosevelt Jr. called Kingsdale and other state officials turned consultants “a hot commodity” now that Obamacare has been upheld by the Supreme Court.
“Given the success of the Massachusetts exchange, not just in getting people covered but in being fiscally responsible and not breaking the budget, I think that makes Massachusetts a model,” he told the Globe.
That may be. But at least six Republican governors, including Rick Perry of Texas and Bob McDonnell of Virginia, have said they have no plans to set up exchanges.
Most states, however, appear to be making an effort to comply with the new law by setting up exchanges themselves or forming an exchange partnership with the federal government.

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