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Health Benefit Exchange Authority Names Three to Senior Staff

Monday, March 11, 2013
The appointees bring national policy and communications experience.

(Washington, DC) The District of Columbia Health Benefit Exchange (HBX) Authority today named three new members to its senior leadership team. The new appointees bring national experience and expertise in the Affordable Care Act.

“I am delighted to welcome these dedicated individuals to the Exchange team” said Mila Kofman, J.D., executive director of the Health Benefit Exchange (HBX) Authority. “They will bring their talents and knowledge to the task at hand, helping us to build a marketplace exchange that provides every person who lives and works in the District with high-quality affordable health insurance.”

The three new team members are:

Debbie Curtis, Senior Deputy Director for Policy and Exchange Programs - Ms. Curtis has more than 23 years of experience working on Capitol Hill, where she was one of the leading experts on health insurance, Medicare, and mental health parity.  Most recently, she served on the Democratic Professional Staff for the Committee on Ways and Means in the US House of Representatives.  For the previous 15 years, she served in a joint position as the Chief of Staff for Rep. Pete Stark (D-CA), and as a professional staff member on the Ways and Means Democratic Staff, where she played a key role in developing the Affordable Care Act.  Prior to her work for Rep. Stark, Ms. Curtis served as health legislative assistant for (then Representative) now Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD) and Rep. Jim Moody (D-WI), both then Ways and Means Health Subcommittee members. 

Ms. Curtis was the Congressional Affairs Director for Citizen Action, a nationwide grassroots consumer advocacy organization, where she lobbied for national health care reform during the Clinton Administration.  She’s also worked on the staffs of now Senator (then Representative) Ron Wyden (D-OR) and Rep. Ed Markey (D-MA).  Ms. Curtis graduated from Boston University with a bachelor’s degree in political science in 1988. She is a longtime resident of the District and lives on Capitol Hill with her husband and daughter.

Purvee Parekh Kempf, Deputy General Counsel and Chief Policy Advisor - From 2003 to 2013, Ms. Kempf served as senior counsel for health policy in the US House of Representatives Committee on Energy and Commerce.  Her primary responsibilities were protecting and improving federal regulation of private health insurance, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program, health information technology, and privacy through legislation and oversight for Congressman Henry Waxman (D-CA) and previously Congressman John Dingell (D-MI).  In that role she helped negotiate and draft the health reform provisions in the Affordable Care Act including the statutory authority and responsibilities for health benefit exchanges.

Ms. Kempf also negotiated and ushered through the House of Representatives groundbreaking health information technology and privacy legislation, as well as the expansion and reauthorization of the Mental Health Parity and Addiction Equity Act and the Children’s Health Insurance Program.  Prior to her work on Capitol Hill, Ms. Kempf was an associate in the health practice group at Hogan & Hartson, LLP, currently Hogan Lovells, and a healthcare consultant at Anderson Consulting, currently Accenture.  She received an undergraduate degree from the University of California at Berkeley and a law degree from the University of Michigan Law School.  See lives in the District with her husband and three young children.

Richard Sorian, Director of Communications, Education and Outreach - Mr. Sorian has had an extensive career in communicating about health care and health policy with the public and with high-level stakeholders. In 2010, President Obama appointed him to serve as the Assistant Secretary for Public Affairs for the US Department of Health & Human Services, where he served as chief advisor to Secretary Kathleen Sebelius on all major communications strategies and was responsible for leadership and guidance for public affairs activities throughout the Department.

From 2010-12, Mr. Sorian led the Department’s efforts to communicate to the public about the Affordable Care Act, including developing the highly-regarded website Mr. Sorian also served in the Clinton Administration as a senior advisor to HHS Secretary Donna Shalala from 1993-98, and as deputy director of the President’s Commission on Consumer Protection and Quality in the Healthcare Industry. From 2003-10, he was Vice President for Public Policy and External Relations for the National Committee for Quality Assurance, the nation’s leading accreditation organization for health insurance plans. He is the author of The Bitter Pill: Tough Choices in America’s Health Policy (McGraw-Hill) as well as numerous articles and peer reviewed publications. Mr. Sorian is a graduate of The George Washington University and a longtime resident of the District of Columbia.

For more information on the appointees, please visit