MD Health Benefit Exchange Board Recommendations to Governor & Legislature

Kevin Wrege, Esq.

Founder & President

Pulse Issues & Advocacy LLC

Office: 202-625-1787

Mobile: 202-253-4929

4410 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150

Washington, DC 20016

Exchange Report.pdf

2012 Letter From the Board.pdf

Mayor Gray Applauds the DC Council’s Passage of Health Benefits Exchange Legislation

December 21, 2011
Mayor Gray Applauds the DC Council’s Passage of Health Benefits Exchange Legislation
Mayor Vincent C. Gray today applauded the DC Council’s passage of the Health Benefits Authority Exchange legislation. The legislation gives final approval for the creation of the District’s health insurance exchange (HIX), an online marketplace for health benefits mandated by the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act.

“I am pleased that the DC Council moved swiftly to pass the measure that creates the District’s Health Benefits Exchange. This important legislation will serve as a catalyst for the implementation of health-care reform in the District,” Mayor Gray said. “The Mayor’s Health Reform Implementation Committee (HRIC) has been working non-stop in its efforts to create the foundation for the HIX. This new online marketplace for health insurance will provide a valuable tool to our residents as they seek affordable health-care coverage.”

When the Affordable Care Act is fully implemented in 2014, individuals and small businesses will have access to affordable coverage through a new competitive private health insurance market – state-based Health Insurance Exchanges.

Health Insurance Exchanges

Health Insurance Exchanges will provide individuals and small businesses with a “one-stop shop” to find and compare affordable, quality private health insurance options. With these exchanges, Americans will no longer be on their own in trying to find comprehensive, affordable health coverage that is right for their needs. Health Insurance Exchanges will bring new transparency to the market so that consumers will be able to compare plans based on price and quality. By increasing competition between insurance companies and allowing individuals and small businesses to band together to purchase insurance, Health Insurance Exchanges will help lower costs.

Mayor Vincent C. Gray’s Health Reform Implementation Committee

In May 2011, Mayor Gray announced the creation of the Mayor’s Health Reform Implementation Committee. The committee was formed to advise and make recommendations to the Mayor’s office on the implementation of the sweeping health-insurance reform legislation passed by Congress in 2010. The panel is chaired by Department of Health Care Finance Director Wayne Turnage and co-chaired by Department of Health Director Dr. Mohammad Akhter and Department of Insurance, Securities and Banking Commissioner William White. It has three subcommittees: Eligibility and Medicaid Expansion; Insurance; and Health Delivery System. Additional committee members are from related agencies, such as the Department of Human Services, the Department of Mental Health and the Department of Disability Services.

The committee submitted its recommendations to Deputy Mayor for Health and Human Services BB Otero so that her office could ensure interagency coordination in implementing the committee’s recommendations. For more information on the District’s Health Reform Implementation activities, please go to www.healthreform.dc.gov.

Kevin Wrege, Esq.

Founder & President

Pulse Issues & Advocacy LLC

Office: 202-625-1787

Mobile: 202-253-4929

4410 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150

Washington, DC 20016

First Source Bill aims to put more D.C. residents in jobs

Law aims to put more D.C. residents in jobs
Tom Howell Jr, Washington Times, December 21st

Mayor Vincent C. Gray signed a bill on Wednesday intended to ensure that city residents are hired to work on D.C.-funded projects as part of an “increasingly large arsenal” in the city’s fight against high unemployment.

The new law should give teeth to the District’s ability to track and enforce its First Source program — an initiative to ensure that companies receiving D.C. tax dollars hire city residents — by means of enhanced hiring and reporting requirements through the Department of Employment Services.

Spearheaded by council Chairman Kwame R. Brown, a Democrat, and council member Michael A. Brown, at-large independent, the law requires DOES to develop tougher reporting requirements within one year for projects receiving more than $5 million.

Companies receiving less than $5 million for government-assisted construction or non-construction projects must ensure that at least 51 percent of its new hires are D.C. residents.

“We are about to sign the largest jobs bill in this city’s history,” Michael A. Brown said. “It’s not going to be the silver bullet, it’s not going to change the world tomorrow, but it’s one additional step — a big step — toward making sure that we’re giving our folks who are out of work a chance to succeed.”

Mr. Gray and its council sponsors touted the measure as a “historic” effort to stem double-digit unemployment that is three times the national average in parts of the city east of the Anacostia River.

The District’s unemployment rate fell from 11 percent to 10.6 percent in November as part of a positive trend in 43 states yet it is still above the national average, which fell to 8.6 percent, according to data released Tuesday by the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.

“We believe the tide is turning in this area,” Mr. Gray said.

The mayor signed the legislation in his ceremonial office at the John A. Wilson Building before presenting the pen to DOES Director Lisa Mallory as a symbolic gesture. He also wryly remarked that “unlike any other jurisdiction in America,” the bill will not become law until Congress has had 30 days to review it.

Mr. Brown, the council chairman, said the bill fulfills promises he made in his inaugural address to pass jobs legislation and a comprehensive ethics bill, which the council approved Tuesday.

The legislation follows a Summer Youth Employment Program that finished the season under budget and a pilot program to hire D.C. residents for school-modernization projects. It also dovetails to an extent with the One City, One Hire initiative designed to put 10,000 city residents to work in one year.

Unlike One City, One Hire, a mayoral initiative loosely based on a pilot program in Atlanta, the newly signed workforce law focuses on companies that receive city dollars. Also, Mr. Gray noted the legislation creates permanent changes, while One City, One Hire could disappear at some point.

Kevin Wrege, Esq.

Founder & President

Pulse Issues & Advocacy LLC

Office: 202-625-1787

Mobile: 202-253-4929

4410 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150

Washington, DC 20016

D.C. expecting $45 million surplus in 2012

D.C. expecting $45 million surplus in 2012
Washington Business Journal, Date: Thursday, December 22, 2011, 6:50am EST

D.C. is looking at a $45 million surplus for the current fiscal year before the numbers turn negative in the face of uncertainty over the federal budget, according to new revenue estimates generated by Chief Financial Officer Natwar Gandhi.

D.C. Councilman Jack Evans, chairman of the finance and revenue committee, said the welcome surplus for fiscal 2012 doesn’t last long. In fiscal 2013, Gandhi is projecting a $69 million deficit — and the budget hole grows to more than $100 million by 2015.

Kevin Wrege, Esq.

Founder & President

Pulse Issues & Advocacy LLC

Office: 202-625-1787

Mobile: 202-253-4929

4410 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150

Washington, DC 20016

Poll: Adrian Fenty (Or Anthony Williams) Would Beat Vince Gray

Poll: Adrian Fenty (Or Anthony Williams) Would Beat Vince Gray
Posted by Mike Madden on Dec. 22, 2011 at 12:01 am, Washington City Paper

`The last time D.C. heard from Adrian Fenty in an official capacity, he was finishing 37th in the "elite male" category at the D.C. Triathlon in June. (Which, come to think of it, is more or less what he was up to for much of his term as mayor.) If a new poll by Clarus Research Group is right, though, Fenty nostalgia is in full swing in the District.

The poll, released Thursday, showed Fenty would beat Mayor Vince Gray easily if a rematch of their 2010 primary was held now; Fenty, who lost his bid for a nomination for another term by 53 percent to 46 percent, would beat Gray 48-33 among Democratic primary voters today. (Among all voters, which includes Republicans and independents, Fenty would win 51-30.) The racial dynamic that ran through last year’s election, though, persists: Gray would beat Fenty 45-31 among black voters, while Fenty would win 82-10 among whites.

But Fenty doesn’t actually seem interested in running again. "I’m not sure if personally I would have gotten more out of" winning another term, he told the Huffington Post in September. Which is why another question the Clarus Group asked was even more interesting.

Former Mayor Anthony Williams, whose name does occasionally come up as a potential candidate to return to office, would also beat Gray, by a 47-32 margin among Democrats, the poll found. Like Fenty, Williams is more popular among white voters than black voters; unlike Fenty, Williams’ hypothetical lead doesn’t increase quite as much if Republicans get rolled into the sample.

The bottom line in the survey’s findings, though, isn’t really news: Incumbent politicians in D.C. these days aren’t very popular.

The poll found Gray’s approval rating among Democrats was only 34 percent, which is actually up from the 31 percent he recorded in a March Clarus poll. But 53 percent of Democrats disapproved of Gray’s job performance, compared to 30 percent in March. At 48 percent, a plurality, but not a majority, of black voters—Gray’s base—approved of his job performance.

“The mayor has never defined his mayoralty,” said Clarus president Ron Faucheux. “News stories about cronyism and criminal investigations have framed his first year in office. His ratings, and those of the [D.C. Council], are suffering from a cloud of uneasiness that hangs over city politics.”

Only 30 percent of voters approved of the D.C. Council’s job performance, with 55 percent disapproving. Council Chairman Kwame "Fully Loaded" Brown, meanwhile, the worst poll numbers of any politician the survey asked about, with 26 percent approving and 57 percent disapproving.

The poll was taken Dec. 19-21 and sampled 500 self-identified registered voters. The margin of error was plus/minus 4.4 percent.

Complete ratings for a variety of local politicians are after the jump:

Mayor Vince Gray

  • Approve: 34
  • Disapprove: 53
  • No Opinion/Don’t Know: 13

D.C. Council

  • Approve: 30
  • Disapprove: 55
  • No Opinion/Don’t Know: 16

Council Chairman Kwame Brown

  • Approve: 23
  • Disapprove: 57
  • No Opinion/Don’t Know: 20

At-Large Councilmember David Catania

  • Approve: 37
  • Disapprove: 16
  • No Opinion/Don’t Know: 47

At-Large Councilmember Michael A. Brown

  • Approve: 26
  • Disapprove: 27
  • No Opinion/Don’t Know: 47

At-Large Councilmember Vincent Orange

  • Approve: 35
  • Disapprove: 27
  • No Opinion/Don’t Know: 38

At-Large Councilmember Phil Mendelson

  • Approve: 44
  • Disapprove: 13
  • No Opinion/Don’t Know: 43

Metropolitan Police Department Chief Cathy Lanier

  • Approve: 78
  • Disapprove: 12
  • No Opinion/Don’t Know: 10

D.C. Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton

  • Approve: 77
  • Disapprove: 15
  • No Opinion/Don’t Know: 9

DCPS Chancellor Kaya Henderson

  • Approve: 51
  • Disapprove: 14

No Opinion/Don’t Know: 35

Kevin Wrege, Esq.

Founder & President

Pulse Issues & Advocacy LLC

Office: 202-625-1787

Mobile: 202-253-4929

4410 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150

Washington, DC 20016

Wash Post: New poll gives low marks to Gray, D.C. Council

Posted at 11:59 PM ET, 12/21/2011

New poll gives low marks to Gray, D.C. Council

By Tim Craig

D.C. Mayor Vincent C. Gray continues to get low marks for his handling of the city and would be handily defeated for reelection by either the city’s two most recent former mayors, according to a new poll.

The poll, conducted by Clarus Research Group., shows more than half of District voters do not approve of the job Gray is doing. Although Gray’s standing has ticked up slightly since a Clarus survey in March, just 34 percent of voters approve of his performance.

The survey paints a bleak picture for both the first-year mayor and the D.C. Council as they battle several ethical controversies and federal investigations.

Only 30 percent of voters approve of the council while 55 percent have a negative view, a reversal of the body’s ratings since a previous Clarus survey in March.

A little more than a year ago, Gray handily defeated former Mayor Adrian M. Fenty after receiving nearly 60 percent of the vote in the September 2010 Democratic primary.

But if District Democrats today were asked to choose between Gray and Fenty, the former mayor would defeat the incumbent by 15 percentage points. Fenty’s 48 percent to 33 percent margin among Democrats grows to 21 percent when non Democrats are included in the survey, according to the poll.

“The mayor’s first year in office has been a political disaster,” said Ron Faucheux, president of Clarus.

In the survey of 500 voters from Sunday through Wednesday, Clarus also pitted Gray against former mayor Anthony Williams (D).

Williams, who was in office from 1999 to 2007, would also defeat Gray by 15 points if an election was held today.

In both match-ups, Fenty or Williams would dominate among white voters, defeating Gray by more than 60 points. Gray maintains an edge among black voters, but his standing has declined dramatically among African-Americans since his 2010 race.

Gray leads Fenty among black voters by a margin of 45 to 31 percentage points. But Gray’s overall disapproval rating among all voters has increased by 13 points since the Clarus survey in March.

Heading into his second year in office, Gray remains stronger politically than D.C. Council Chairman Kwame R. Brown (D) and the rest of the city’s legislative body.

Only 23 percent of District voters approve of Brown’s job performance, compared to 57 who disapprove.

According to the survey, a few District public officials remain popular with voters.

Del. Eleanor Holmes Norton (D), who is up for reelection in 2012, has a 77 percent approval rating, nearly equal to Police Chief Cathy Lanier’s 78 percent rating.

About half of District voters also approve of Schools Chancellor Kaya Henderson, but about one in three have an unfavorable view of her.

By Tim Craig | 11:59 PM ET, 12/21/2011

Kevin Wrege, Esq.

Founder & President

Pulse Issues & Advocacy LLC

Office: 202-625-1787

Mobile: 202-253-4929

4410 Massachusetts Ave., NW, #150

Washington, DC 20016

Wash Post: Drivers decry D.C. taxi system overhaul bill