A local Gresham senator will now have her hand in health care legislation at the Capitol.

Last week, Senate President Peter Courtney, D-Salem/Gervais/Woodburn, appointed Sen. Laurie Monnes Anderson, D-Gresham, to serve on the Legislative Advisory and Oversight Committee for the Oregon Health Insurance Exchange Corporation.

The committee is part of Oregon's Health Insurance Exchange, created by recently passed Senate Bill 99. It creates a health care marketplace so individuals and small businesses can shop for the best coverage. Set to be operational in 2014, it will provide 350,000 Oregonians with access to affordable health care.

Monnes Anderson has been involved in the health-care field prior to her new position, serving as a public health nurse and as chairwoman of the Senate Health Care Committee.

'Legislative oversight will be key to the operation of the Health Care Exchange and Sen. Monnes Anderson's background makes her a perfect fit for this committee,' Courtney said.

The exchange is a requirement of the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, passed by Congress last year. It must report quarterly to the Legislature about its financial status, business plan, information technology system and other requested information.

The exchange must deliver a formal business plan to the Legislature before the 2012 session. It will begin meeting soon.

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