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By Richard Asinof
PROVIDENCE – The role of messaging in positioning health care reform in Rhode Island has become more prominent in recent weeks.
A new ad hoc group, the Coalition for Affordable Health Care Choices, has hired a coordinator to help with advocacy efforts around the formation of the R.I. Health Benefits Exchange, giving voice to concerns about “government-run” health care. Cara Cromwell, a political consultant who managed Republican candidate John Loughlin’s Congressional race in 2010, has been hired by the group, which includes all three major health insurers in Rhode Island and the Greater Providence Chamber of Commerce. Initially, neither the coalition spokesman, Jim Borah, or Chamber President Laurie White, could say where the money was coming from to pay her salary. Borah later clarified that Cromwell’s salary is being paid by contributions from coalition members.
As part of the ongoing efforts of the Small Employer Health Insurance Task Force, an ad hoc group created by R.I. Health Insurance Commissioner Christopher F. Koller to engage with small businesses, communications consultant Dyana Koelsch has been retained to help facilitate the meetings and shape the presentation of information.
The most recent recruit to the messaging fray about health care reform has been Megan Hall, health care reporter with WRNI, who will be leaving her job at the end of April to work with Deb Faulkner, a consultant working with the Office of the Health Insurance Commissioner to design and implement the new R.I. Health Benefits Exchange. Hall’s exact responsibilities are still not defined, she told the Providence Business News.