In his final days in office, California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed two key allies to oversee the new California Health Benefit Exchange, a clearinghouse where individuals and small businesses will be able to buy health insurance starting in 2014.
Calif. insurance exchange officials named
Schwarzenegger named his outgoing secretary of the Health and Human Services Agency, Kim Belshe, to the five-member exchange board. Belshe, 51, has served as state HHS secretary since 2003, when Schwarzenegger took office.
Susan Kennedy, Schwarzenegger's chief of staff since 2006, was also named to the exchange board. Kennedy, 50, advised the governor in his failed bid to reform healthcare in California.
Both appointments were effective Jan. 1, and don't require Senate confirmation.
California was the first state to enact legislation creating an insurance exchange under the federal health reform law. According to the state law enacting the exchange, the California Assembly and Senate also will each choose a board member. The new state HHS secretary, Diana Dooley, will round out the panel. Dooley, former CEO of the California Children's Hospital Association, was tapped to succeed Belshe by incoming Gov. Jerry Brown. Brown, a Democrat, took office today.
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