The worst-kept secret in state government came to an end this morning when Governor Chafee introduced Christine Ferguson as the director of the Rhode Island Health Benefits Exchange. Ferguson has a long history in health policy, and she says the exchange offers the promise of cutting healthcare costs:
“In the long run, it’s going to make premiums more predictable and we are going to be able to look at how the system works collectively and what the potential savings are in it.”
Lieutenant Governor Elizabeth Roberts says a demonstration version of the online exchange is slated to be unveiled in October. For those seeking a faster look, she points to similar approaches in Massachusetts and Utah.
Meanwhile, with the Supreme Court expected to soon make a decision on the Affordable Care Act, Chafee says Rhode Island’s exchange will move ahead regardless of the court’s ruling. It helps, of course, that the state has received $58 million in federal grants to implement its exchange.