Chafee names Ferguson health exchange director

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Gov. Lincoln Chafee named a former state health official to lead Rhode Island’s new health benefits exchange.

Chafee announced the appointment of Christine Ferguson Thursday morning at the State House.

It is an economic imperative to solve the problem of the uninsured and rising healthcare costs in our state, and the health benefits exchange will help us address this challenge” said Chafee. Christy‚Äôs leadership and experience in state health policy, implementation of the ACA, healthcare delivery system reform, Medicaid, healthcare financing and management, and many other areas makes her the ideal choice for leading the Exchange.

Ferguson was Rhode Island’s human services director from 1995 to 2001 and was public health commissioner in Massachusetts under former Gov. Mitt Romney, who’s now running for president. She was also deputy chief of staff to Chafee’s father, U.S. Sen. John Chafee, in the 1990s.

The exchange is being designed to be an online marketplace allowing individuals and businesses to compare health plans.

Rhode Island is using $58 million in federal funds to help create the exchange, which is part of the Affordable Care Act.

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