The composition of the board charged with implementing a key part of health reform — creating a marketplace for individuals and small businesses to buy health care coverage — is likely to change by a change in the status of the state’s healthcare advocate. Victoria Veltri, now an ex officio board member, would become a voting member of the board.

The makeup of the board has drawn protests from advocates who say consumers and small businesses aren’t adequately represented. Critics of the board, which now has 11 voting and three nonvoting ones members, say insurance company interests are overrepresented. There is one small-business owner on the board — Michael Devine, CEO of Earth Energy Alliance in Westport. Three board members have ties to insurance companies, although none currently work for one.

The Universal Health Care Foundation of Connecticut, which has criticized the board appointments, wants the bill to go further and add two consumer representatives and two small business representatives.

The bill that adds the state’s healthcare advocate is expected to be approved by the House and Senate today.

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Jacqueline Rabe Thomas

Jacqueline was CT Mirror’s Education and Housing Reporter, and an original member of the CT Mirror staff, joining shortly before our January 2010 launch. Her awards include the best-of-show Theodore A. Driscoll Investigative Award from the Connecticut Society of Professional Journalists in 2019 for reporting on inadequate inmate health care, first-place for investigative reporting from the New England Newspaper and Press Association in 2020 for reporting on housing segregation, and two first-place awards from the National Education Writers Association in 2012. She was selected for a prestigious, year-long Propublica Local Reporting Network grant in 2019, exploring a range of affordable and low-income housing issues. Before joining CT Mirror, Jacqueline was a reporter, online editor and website developer for The Washington Post Co.’s Maryland newspaper chains. Jacqueline received an undergraduate degree in journalism from Bowling Green State University and a master’s in public policy from Trinity College.

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