Health exchange official to step down
The official charged with overseeing the creation of U.S. state-based health insurance exchanges is stepping down at a critical juncture for the Obama administration’s health care overhaul, Reuters reported. Joel Ario, director of health insurance exchanges at the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is leaving his job just as states begin to get guidelines for setting up the exchanges, officials confirmed on Tuesday. The exchanges are meant to provide easy access to a marketplace of insurance plans and allow uninsured people and small businesses to band together to negotiate for cheaper rates. Last month, HHS proposed a sliding deadline for states to set up the exchanges, relaxing a previously strict 2013 deadline to commit to a plan and be ready to start by 2014.