Keeping Up with the California Health Benefit Exchange Board: Starting Off On the Fast Track – Say Ahhh! A Children’s Health Policy Blog

By Nicette Short of Children Now and Kathleen Hamilton of The Children’s Partnership

California’s Health Benefit Exchange Board, created under the Affordable
Care Act, held its inaugural meeting on April 20, 2011 in Sacramento,

Even with one of the five Board seats vacant (the
California Senate has not yet selected its appointee), the California Health
Benefit Exchange Board wasted little time on ceremony and adopted an ambitious
work plan.

Acutely aware of the 2014 launch, the Board moved quickly
to select California’s new Secretary of Health and Human Services, Diana Dooley, as its
first chair; announced its plan to retain Patricia Powers as interim
administrative officer (former CEO of the Pacific Business Group on
); and directed staff to begin the process to prepare a
Level 2 Establishment Grant application for submission by the September 30,
2011 deadline.

The Board set a very aggressive meeting schedule and
agenda for 2011. The
first few scheduled meetings will tackle key responsibilities of the Exchange
and address many of the issues that children’s advocates care about, including
enrollment, public health and social service program integration, the Basic
Health Plan option, creation of two working groups, establishment and
requirements for a small business exchange (SHOP), IT systems, consumer
assistance, coverage and appeals, stakeholder engagement, outreach and
education, the navigator program, and certification of Qualified Health Plans …
all of this before the end of July 2011!

The 100 % Campaign, Children Now, The Children’s Partnership, and Children’s Defense Fund -CA),
PICO California, California Coverage & Health Initiatives, and United Ways
of California attended the inaugural Exchange Board meeting along with many
other advocates and stakeholders, and we have begun the first of many
anticipated conversations with key Exchange Board members and staff.

We will be at the table as the California Health Benefit
Exchange sets the stage for how the new marketplace will make health coverage a
reality for all Californians, and we will remain a strong voice for
California’s children to ensure the implementation of ACA improves their access
to comprehensive coverage and care.

The Exchange Board website (
has agenda information and materials, including a plan for applying for the
Exchange establishment grants. We plan to cover these meetings and will report
back on the Say Ahhh! Blog, so stay tuned for an action-packed few months! 

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