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Published on Tuesday April 26, 2011 - 9:43 AM
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SALEM, Oregon - Affordable, quality health has been promised to an estimated 350,000 Oregonians as the Oregon Senate voted yesterday for SB 99 to create the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange. The program is designed to work as a central marketplace, allowing individuals and small businesses to shop for coverage based on value, cost, and quality.

Senator Laurie Monnes Anderson, chairmain of the Senate Health Care, Human Services and Rural Health Policy Committee said the process will be similar to purchasing goods, such as airline tickets, online. She added that Oregonians will get a great value for their dollar, but questions remain.

"How is this going to work? Business, in particular, especially small businesses, will see that this is going to be, they will have more security in premium rates that are not going to go up and down."

Anderson added while some may be concerned about the change, in the end, this legislation will benefit the individuals, businesses and the whole state.

"It may take a while for the public to catch on on how valuable this will be to an individual or to a business. But, the framework is right to help keep that cost curve down and to give more stability to the insurance rates that are skyrocketing."

A nine-member governing board, including at least two consumer representatives, will oversee the operations of the Exchange. SB 99 now moved to the House for consideration.