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Mayor Gray Applauds the DC Council’s Passage of Health Benefits Exchange Legislation

Wednesday, December 21, 2011

Mayor Gray Applauds the DC Council’s Passage of Health Benefits Exchange Legislation

The legislation opens the door to the creation of the District’s health insurance exchange.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray today applauded the DC Council’s passage of the Health Benefits Authority Exchange legislation. The legislation gives final approval for the creation of the District’s health insurance exchange (HIX), an online marketplace for health benefits mandated by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“I am pleased that the DC Council moved swiftly to pass the measure that creates the District’s Health Benefits Exchange. This important legislation will serve as a catalyst for the implementation of health-care reform in the District,” Mayor Gray said. “The Mayor’s Health Reform Implementation Committee (HRIC) has been working non-stop in its efforts to create the foundation for the HIX. This new online marketplace for health insurance will provide a valuable tool to our residents as they seek affordable health-care coverage.”

When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in 2014, individuals and small businesses will have access to affordable coverage through a new competitive private health insurance market – state-based Health Insurance Exchanges.

Health Insurance Exchanges

Health Insurance Exchanges will provide individuals and small businesses with a “one-stop shop” to find and compare affordable, quality private health insurance options. With these exchanges, Americans will no longer be on their own in trying to find comprehensive, affordable health coverage that is right for their needs. Health Insurance Exchanges will bring new transparency to the market so that consumers will be able to compare plans based on price and quality. By increasing competition between insurance companies and allowing individuals and small businesses to band together to purchase insurance, Health Insurance Exchanges will help lower costs.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s Health Reform Implementation Committee

In May 2011, Mayor Gray announced the creation of the Mayor’s Health Reform Implementation Committee. The committee was formed to advise and make recommendations to the Mayor’s office on the implementation of the sweeping health-insurance reform legislation passed by Congress in 2010. The panel is chaired by Department of Health Care Finance Director Wayne Turnage and co-chaired by Department of Health Director Dr. Mohammad Akhter and Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking Commissioner William White. It has three subcommittees: Eligibility and Medicaid Expansion; Insurance; and Health Delivery System. Additional committee members are from related agencies, such as the Department of Human Services, the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Disability Services.

The committee submitted its recommendations to Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services BB Otero so that her office could ensure interagency coordination in implementing the committee’s recommendations. For more information on the District’s Health Reform Implementation activities, please go to www.healthreform.dc.gov.