The Board of the California Health Benefit Exchange met for the second time, today. The first order of business was a report from the Interim Administrative Officer Pat Powers, who laid out the near and long term tasks to be completed by staff. She cited the recruitment and hiring of an Executive Director and General Counsel, and the submission of the Exchange Planning Grant as the first priorities.
Ms. Powers mentioned opportunities for stakeholder participation such as public comment in meetings, plans to make the Board more accessible such as webcasting and using webinars. Several attendees addressed the importance of including stakeholder input early so that their expertise could be incorporated into staff recommendations prior to being presented to the board for action.
The Board then heard reports from the subcommittees that were created at the last meeting. The Search/Recruitment Committee adopted an amendment that the Executive Director have expertise not only in private market programs but also in public programs.
The Exchange Establishment Grant Subcommittee reported on attending an Exchange establishment meeting in Denver and are planning to change the level of grant the state applies for. The thinking is that rather than submit a long term Level II grant in September, the Board may submit a Level I grant in June, and take a little more time with the larger Level II grant that requires a four-year budget.
The remainder of the agenda consisted of 4 expert presentations on policy issues that will impact the exchange:
- An overview of the Individual and Small Group Markets, Marian Mulkey, Director of the Health Reform and Public Programs Initiative, California Health Care Foundation (CHCF) presented a review of the individual and small group health insurance markets in California. California’s Individual and Small Group Markets on the Eve of Reform
- Projections of Potential Exchange Enrollment, Jerry Kominski, Associate Director, UCLA Center for Health Policy Research, presented the UCLA/UCB microsimulation model.
- The Small Business Health Options Program (SHOP). Rick Curtis, President, Institute for Health Policy Solutions, presented an overview of the SHOP, discussing how market constructs are important to SHOP viability, the different and similar roles of the individual and SHOP Exchanges, and some key design and development issues regarding the SHOP.
- The Basic Health Program Option. Katie Marcellus, Assistant Secretary, California Health and Human Services Agency, presented an overview of the Basic Health Program (BHP), explaining the structure, options, and policy issues relevant to the BHP.
Ms. Belshé closed by acknowledging that California is still the only state with a constituted Board. She challenged those in the media spinning the story that California is slowing down implementation,