The list of members of the Board of the Exchange has trickled out into the public realm today. Although our wonderful Healthcare Advocate, Vicki Veltri, is automatically on the Board, of all of the appointed members -- both Democrat and Republican -- there is NOT ONE consumer representative -- not one.
The federal Exchange regulations say, in the preamble, as follows: "Exchanges are intended to support consumers, including small businesses, and as such, the majority of the voting members of governing boards should be individuals who represent their interests." 76 Fed. Reg. 41872 (7/15/2011). I don't know about you, but that surely reads to me as though there should be -- oh, I don't know, maybe ONE consumer representative on the Board? Maybe one public official could have appointed someone who would join Vicki Veltri in expressing the consumer point of view?
Even worse, although the statute says flat out that insurance company representatives cannot be on the Board of the Exchange, in fact, there are three (slightly) former insurance industry executives on the Board. Nobody on the Board is in favor of a public option, although here in Connecticut, the SustiNet Board is supposed to be studying the feasibility of a public option. In short, the deck is stacked against consumers. Apparently, nobody in Connecticut's government read the federal regulations.
In short, those who had the authority to appoint members of the Board of the Exchange have betrayed the trusts and undermined the interests of Connecticut consumers, thousands of whom are going to be purchasing their insurance through the Exchange. Nobody (besides Vicki Veltri) on the Board knows the obstacles consumers face and will speak for them. This is a travesty.
For those of you Connecticut consumers out there, now would be a really good time to get mad. Jennifer