KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations.

Oregon Insurance Commissioner To Advise HHS On Exchanges

Teresa Miller, the state's top insurance regulator, will be a senior adviser for state exchange outreach.

The Hill: Oregon Insurance Commissioner To Advise HHS On Exchanges
Oregon's top insurance regulator is joining the Health and Human Services Department to help implement insurance exchanges. Oregon Insurance Administrator Teresa Miller will start at HHS next month, according to a department email. She'll be a senior adviser on exchanges, working with state governments to get the new insurance marketplaces off the ground (Baker, 11/15).

CQ HealthBeat: CCIIO Gets Insurance Exchanges Adviser
Oregon Insurance Commissioner Teresa Miller will be joining the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight on Dec. 12 as a senior adviser for state exchange outreach. According to an email sent to CCIO staff, Miller will be working with state government stakeholders as they develop the insurance exchanges, which under the health care overhaul are scheduled to start operating in 2014 (11/15).

In other exchange news, the American Medical Association has taken a position encouraging states to adopt an "open market" rather than use an "active purchaser" health exchange approach.

Reuters: Doctors Back "Open Market" Insurance Exchanges
The American Medical Association added pressure on U.S. states to steer toward the system that opens doors to all insurers who meet minimum standards as they build up their health insurance exchanges. The influential doctors group on Tuesday put its weight behind the so-called "open marketplace" structure of a health insurance exchange, as opposed to a model called "active purchasers." In the latter, a state would act much like a large employer and vet bids from insurers who want to participate (Selyukh, 11/15).

The Hill: AMA Opposes 'Active Purchaser' Model For Exchanges
The American Medical Association said Tuesday that state insurance exchanges should not try to actively negotiate with health plans. Some consumer advocates have endorsed an "active purchaser" model, in which states empower their exchanges to negotiate with insurers and allow only certain plans into the exchange. But insurers — and now doctors — say any plan that meets the federal standards laid out in the health care reform law should have access to the exchanges. The AMA endorsed the more laissez-faire approach at the close of a semi-annual meeting Tuesday (Baker, 11/15).

And states continue wrestling with efforts to develop their own exchanges.

Kaiser Health News: South Carolina's Waiting Game On Health Insurance Exchange
South Carolina's top health official will recommend this week that the state decline creating its own health insurance exchange, one of the central tenets of President Barack Obama's health care law (Weaver, 11/15).

The Baltimore Sun: Advocacy Group Offers Plan For Affordable Health Care
Officials from a health care advocacy group have presented something of a road map to the state leaders at the Maryland Health Exchange Board, whose members are working to implement the national health care reform law. The Maryland Citizens' Health Initiative officials say the plan would make health care more affordable. They also pledged to help get the state officials new legal authority to implement some of the suggestions – the state legislature will be defining the board’s duties more clearly during the next session (Cohn, 11/15).

Kansas Health Institute News: Committee Recommends Pursuit Of Federal Money For State Insurance Exchange
A legislative committee today recommended that all pertinent state agencies should pursue available federal grants to help develop a Kansas-run health insurance exchange, a stance at odds with Gov. Sam Brownback who earlier this year rejected a $31.5 million federal award intended for that purpose. ... The committee earlier had heard from Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger who said the state still has two opportunities to apply for federal money to develop its own insurance exchange (Shields, 11/15).

Related, earlier KHN story: In Kansas, Republicans Can't Agree On Insurance Exchanges (Thompson, 11/2). 

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