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RI- first in things that are hard to put in a headline

November 29, 2011

Yesterday it was about breast feeding. Rhode Island was the first state to get all of its hospitals to stop offering bags of baby formula.  Try to write that with four words.

Today Rhode Island is the first in the nation to get the second round of federal funding to create its online marketplace for health insurance. First of the second? Not good radio.

Ok, so what does that mean? Rhode Island gets 58 million dollars to spend over the next few years to hire consultants and pay staff to design the health insurance exchange. Other states have received level one funding- that’s for only one year’s worth of work- but RI is the first to get money it can spend over multiple years.

During today’s conference call, Felice Freyer from the Projo asked the U.S. Department of  Health and Human Services what makes Rhode Island special. Why are we the first to get the number two? Chiquita Brooks-Lasure with HHS said-

Rhode Island had already applied for a level one establishment grant, and to apply for a level two grant, the state is making the commitment to establish an exchange. Rhode Island has been at the forefront of health care innovation throughout its history and has a great deal of experience and I think is ready to move on to level two.

A clarifying question from me- was Rhode Island the first state to apply for the second round of funding, or did we have  some sort of competition?

Rhode Island was the first state to apply for level two funding.

So, we’re special because we’re the first ones to send in the application. Still, that does say something about the Ocean State. Rhode Island is taking advantage of everything the federal government has to offer and organized enough to get its paperwork in before the rest of the country. Here’s to being first in something positive!

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