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Concern Expressed at Ario's Exit From Job Overseeing Health Exchanges

The news that Joel Ario, director of the health insurance exchanges in the Obama administration, will leave office in September after one year on the...
August 9, 2011

The news that Joel Ario, director of the health insurance exchanges in the Obama administration, will leave office in September after one year on the job was met with mixed reactions, with some concerned over the prospects for future state-federal cooperation. Ario will leave Washington by the end of August to return to his family in Pennsylvania, but he will continue to oversee the exchanges office until September 23.

While serving as Pennsylvania insurance commissioner, Ario played a role in drafting the health reform law, advising U.S. Senate staff and the Obama administration on technical aspects. Prior to leading the Pennsylvania Department of Insurance, Ario served as Oregon's insurance administrator from 2000-2007.

State regulators will miss working with Ario, said Kansas Insurance Commissioner Sandy Praeger, who chairs the National Association of Insurance Commissioners' (NAIC) Health Insurance and Managed Care Committee. His departure "would certainly shake things up for the states who have had a very good working relationship with Joel," she said. Alabama Rep. Greg Wren (R) said he hopes the loss of Ario will not hinder the working relationship building between state and federal officials. Wren said in seeking a replacement, the administration should seek the same strong background in state regulation Ario demonstrated.

Read more on Ario's Departure: Some Express Concern Over Ario's Exit (BestWire 8/5/11)

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