- Associated Press - Tuesday, December 1, 2015

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. (AP) - Gov. Asa Hutchinson has replaced the chairman and one other member of a state board that establishes health insurance exchanges for small-business employees and individual consumers.

The Arkansas Democrat-Gazette (https://bit.ly/1TrONCT ) reported Tuesday that the governor removed Chris Parker, an attorney who was elected chairman of the Arkansas Health Insurance Marketplace Board on Sept. 30, and Annabelle Imber Tuck, a former state Supreme Court justice. They were appointed to the board by former Gov. Mike Beebe in 2013.

They have been replaced by John Womack, chief executive of Arvest Bank in central Arkansas, and Phillip Gilmore, chief executive of Ashley County Medical Center in Crossett.

J.R. Davis, a spokesman for the governor, said the two new members of the board share the Hutchinson’s vision of the board’s direction.

The Legislature created the 11-member board in 2013 to explore the creation of state-run health exchanges. Under the 2010 Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, health insurance exchanges allow consumers to shop for coverage and apply for income-based subsidies to help pay for it.

According to Parker and Tuck, they were notified by Hutchinson’s chief of staff three weeks ago that they were going to be replaced. Parker said he was not surprised.

“It makes sense for the governor to have people that he has a connection to and he has some confidence in” on the board, Parker said.

Tuck said that these things happen, but “I’m not going to sit here and say that I’m not disappointed, because I am disappointed” that she won’t be able to serve as long as she had initially expected.”

Sen. David Sanders, chairman of a committee that monitors the marketplace board, said Parker and Tuck “did a lot of hard work and grueling work,” but has confidence in the new members.


Information from: Arkansas Democrat-Gazette, https://www.arkansasonline.com

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