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Oregon Praised For Progress On Health Insurance Exchanges

The White House is praising Oregon and 27 other states for their progress toward implementing the federal health care overhaul.

The Affordable Care Act charged states to set up their own health insurance exchanges.

Those are meant to work like the Travelocity or Expedia websites. But instead of selling vacations, they’ll allow individuals and small businesses to comparison shop for health insurance.

 The hope is they’ll give customers the kind of buying power that large businesses enjoy.

The White House says so far it has sent states $730 million to help set up exchanges. Oregon has received about $60 million of that.

Exchange spokeswoman, Lisa Morawski, says Oregon is well positioned. “We have developed a business plan that our board of directors approved last week. And we will be submitting that plan to the legislature in February.”

So far, about 25 people have been hired to set up the exchange. More will follow, if the legislature gives the health exchange a green light.

The White House says it’s negotiating with some of the states that aren’t setting up exchanges.  So far, 22 states have made little progress.

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