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The exhibition MORE Than Words examines the idea of bullying within a broad cultural context . Westport Arts Center - September 9-October 29
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Health and Fitness

Health and Fitness

Thursday, September 01, 2016

Comings & Goings: Fountain of Youth Closes Retail Outlet Image
Fountain of Youth, a health organic market located at 1789 Post Rod East in the Westfair Shopping Center opposite Stop & Shop, has closed its retail store. Owners John and Kay Moretti, Westport residents, said their store, in the same location since 1983, has been driven out of business by the internet, Whole Foods, Trader Joe’s and others who also sell natural food products. “We were here before what we do became mainstream,” said John Moretti. “Marlo Thomas and Paul Newman were among our frequent customers.”  He added, “We’re not going out of business, just closing this shop. Our customers can still purchase our products by calling us at the same phone number, (203)259-9378. We’re doing mail order and, if local, one-hour delivery service.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Tuesday, August 09, 2016

For Zika, West Nile, Health District Urges‘Bug Smarts’

By James Lomuscio

You don’t have to have a pond, large water feature or even a bird bath to spawn mosquitoes prone to harbor the Zika virus, says Mark A. R. Cooper, director of health for the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD). Image
Mark A. R. Cooper: take precautions. File photo

Even a bottle cap that fills with water is enough, he says.

“When you walk around your garden and see and standing water, even in bottle caps, get rid of them,” Cooper said, adding that residents insistent on water features use mosquito larvae killing, nematode donuts.

“Zika mosquitoes are going for the smaller things to leave their larvae, the smaller things, the bottle caps, soda, old coffee cups,” he added. “So, as you’re enjoying the outdoors, get rid of standing water. That will address West Nile. That will address Zika.”

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Tuesday, August 02, 2016

CT Gets Nearly $1M to Combat Zika Virus

By Kyle Constable

State officials have nearly $1 million in new funds at their disposal to fight the Zika virus after receiving a pair of federal grants from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

The CDC is giving the Connecticut Department of Public Health two grants – a $579,000 grant announced Monday and a $400,000 grant announced today – to protect Connecticut residents from the Zika virus and monitor existing cases.

Florida’s governor announced Monday as many as 14 cases of the Zika virus in his state may have been locally transmitted – the first cases of the virus transmitted in the continental United States.

The $579,000 grant announced Monday will be used to “support and enhance the state’s efforts to protect Connecticut residents from Zika virus and monitor serious birth defects, like microcephaly, and other adverse health outcomes that can be caused by Zika virus,” Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office said.

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Tuesday, July 19, 2016

Making History, RTM Approves Disabilities Commission

By James Lomuscio

To a round of applause, the Representative Town Meeting (RTM) tonight unanimously approved an ordinance establishing a new Westport Commission on People with Disabilities.

Sarah Heath, the town’s new human services director, made the proposal, saying such a commission had been “almost 10 years in the making.”

The idea for a disabilities commission took root in 2007 when the Community Inclusion Task Force, which had been appointed by the Health & Human Services Commission and the Westport Weston United Way, issued its final report.

Heath said that creating the new town body would demonstrate “that Westport is a community where people with disabilities are valued,” and that they contribute to the town.

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Tuesday, July 05, 2016

Senate Poised to Quash CT GMO Food Labeling Law

By Ana Radelat

Washington – The U.S. Senate is expected to move forward Wednesday on a bill that would pre-empt Connecticut’s genetically modified food labeling law, replacing it with a national food safety standard advocates say would be much weaker and not apply to many foods. Image
A GMO notice on the side of a box of Wheaties. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) photo

Last week the Senate held a procedural vote – approved 68-29 –  on the contentious issue of labeling genetically modified organisms in food, or GMOs. Its sponsors, Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., and Debbie Stabenow, D-Mich, call the legislation a compromise.

The Roberts-Stabenow bill would create a mandatory labeling regime for food made with genetically modified organisms. Food makers would be required to either print a text message on the package disclosing whether a product contains GMO ingredients, or print a QR code or an internet link directing customers to GMO information not on the package.

Food safety advocates, who say they were caught off guard by the Senate’s action, have dubbed the bill the “Denying Americans the Right to Know (DARK) Act.”

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Sunday, July 03, 2016

Comings & Goings: New York Sports Clubs Closing Image
New York Sports Clubs, 427 Post Road East in the Compo Shopping Center, will close July 31 after 14 years at the location, according to employee Michael Pettway. He said all members are being offered a refund or a transfer of membership to another New York Sports Club with the nearest in Stamford and Greenwich. Pettway, who said the decision to close was a corporate one, has been employed by the club for about one year and was offered a position at the Stamford location. He said there are about 10-11 employees in Westport, which opened in January 2002.  (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Saturday, June 04, 2016

‘Push Up Against Cancer’ Attracts Hundreds Image
Individuals and teams from across Connecticut gathered at Westport’s Levitt Pavilion today to show their strength and determination to raise money for The Hole in the Wall Gang Camp during Mental Grit Fitness’ 7th Annual Push Against Cancer event. See video here. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Friday, May 06, 2016

Agency Head: Mosquito-control Funding Cut

By Arielle Levin Becker

Pending cuts to state funding for mosquito control could pose a problem for the agency that monitors the insects for the Zika virus and other diseases, the director of the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station said today.

“It’s really not adequate for us to do what we want to do,” Theodore G. Andreadis said after a press conference with Gov. Dannel P. Malloy on the Zika virus.

But Malloy said money necessary for screening and testing mosquitos would be made available, whether in the budget or not.

The budget deal reached this week by the Malloy administration and Democratic legislative leaders would cut funding for mosquito control at Andreadis’ agency from $507,516 to $446,779 for the upcoming fiscal year – a 12 percent decrease. Legislators are expected to vote on the budget during a special session next week.

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Fourth Zika Virus Case in CT

The state Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that a fourth Connecticut patient, a non-pregnant woman in her 30s, has tested positive for the Zika virus.

The patient traveled from the Caribbean to Connecticut on April 25 and became ill on April 29, the DPH said. Her symptoms included fever, rash and conjunctivitis. 

The patient and her physician have been informed of the test result.

The State Laboratory confirmed the patient’s test result using PCR testing. This level of testing is used for patients who are actively experiencing symptoms of the virus.

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Tuesday, May 03, 2016

CT Pregnant Woman Tests Positive for Zika Virus

The Connecticut Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that a pregnant Connecticut woman has tested positive for Zika virus.

According to DPH, the patient became ill with a fever and rash while traveling in Central America. It was during this trip that the patient conceived.

The patient has since returned to Central America, a news release said.

DPH officials contacted the patient’s Connecticut physician today with the positive result and are working to get in touch with the patient or her family to ensure that she seeks medical care while she is out of the country, DPH said.

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Monday, April 25, 2016

House Passes ‘Comprehensive’ Opioid Bill

By Arielle Levin Becker

After a floor debate laced with stories of the toll drug addiction has taken across Connecticut, the House today unanimously passed what legislators described as a comprehensive measure aimed at curbing the epidemic of opioid and heroin abuse. Image
Sue Kruczek, wearing her son Nick’s memorial hockey jersey, speaks earlier this year in favor of a bill to cap the supply of opioid prescriptions. Nick died at age 20 of a heroin overdose after initially taking prescription opioids. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Arielle Levin Becker for

The proposal, approved 144-0, would require first responders to carry overdose-reversing drugs, limit initial opioid prescriptions to seven-day supplies in most cases involving acute pain, make changes to a prescription monitoring program aimed at helping prescribers identify patients who could be misusing drugs, and charge the state’s Alcohol and Drug Policy Council with developing a plan to reduce the number of opioid-induced deaths in the state.

Drug overdoses now kill an average of two people in Connecticut each day – more than car accidents. Last year, 723 people died from accidental drug overdoses in the state, and more than 60 percent involved opioids.

“They’re digging graves in every town in Connecticut,” Public Health Committee Co-Chair Rep. Matt Ritter, D-Hartford, said. He noted that more than 50 bills on the topic were submitted to the committee at the start of the session – a sign of the level of concern among lawmakers across the state.

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Monday, March 21, 2016

Westport Lauded as Clean Energy Leader

By James Lomuscio

Connecticut’s clean energy future seems bright, according to a Town Hall forum tonight that drew about 25 persons. Image
Tonight’s clean energy forum praised Westport’s clean energy efforts. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

And leading the way is Westport, cited as “a great example” of a community taking the reins.

The auditorium forum was orchestrated by state Rep. Johnathan Steinberg, who had invited Acadia Center, a nonprofit clean energy advocacy group, to discuss alternative energy advancements over the past decade, plus future efforts.

At the last minute, Steinberg, who had been scheduled to give a legislative perspective on state efforts, was unable to attend due to a family emergency.

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Friday, March 18, 2016

First Confirmed CT Case of Zika Virus

The State Department of Public Health (DPH) today announced that the first case of Zika virus in Connecticut has been detected by its state laboratory. Image
An Aedes species mosquito that transmits the Zika virus. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) CDC photo

According to DPH, the patient, 60-69 years of age, traveled to a Zika-affected area and had onset of illness on the day of return in early March. 

The patient’s illness was characterized by skin rash, conjunctivitis, fatigue, chills, headache, and muscle aches, an announcement said. The patient has been seen by a physician and is recovering.

In January, Gov. Dannel p. Malloy directed DPH to test for Zika virus. The tests were conducted at the DPH Laboratory, which was approved for and began testing for Zika virus on Feb. 29, the DPH said.

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Monday, March 14, 2016

Staples Hosts Brain Talk

The connection between the mind and body is the subject of a Staples High School talk next week by a best-selling author, which is open to the public. Image
John Medina: to discuss brain and body connection. Contributed photo

John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and founding director of two brain research institutes, will speak at the school on Wednesday, March 23 at 6 p.m, the school district announced today.

He is the author of The New York Times best-selling book “Brain Rules.”

Among his topics—how people learn, the effects of stress on the brain and how physical activity benefits cognition, an announcement said.

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Wednesday, March 09, 2016

Comings & Goings: Concussion Center Opening

Heads Up Westport - Concussion Center will soon open at 25 Imperial Ave. in Westport. Image
Audrey Paul (l) and Deborah Mogelof: specializing in youngster concussions. Contributed photos

Co-owners are Westport physicians and residents Deborah Mogelof and Audrey Paul.

In addition to her work at the new business, Mogelof said she will remain associated with Westport Urgent Care, 1045 Post Road East, where she has served as a director for the past three years.  Paul is a pediatric emergency medicine physician.

“Our practice will provide baseline ImPact (concussion) testing for children 10 and over,” said Mogelof. She said this is something the American Academy of Pediatrics recommends.

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Friday, February 19, 2016

Heroin Scourge Affects Westport, Too

By James Lomuscio

Westport has not escaped the surge in heroin and other opiate overdoses in Connecticut. Image
Heroin overdose deaths have soared in Connecticut and nationally. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Contributed graphic

While no deaths have been reported in Westport, the state’s Office of the Chief Medical Examiner said this week the number of people in Connecticut dying from drug overdoses continued to skyrocket in 2015.

More than 720 people overdosed, with heroin-related deaths climbing at alarming rates, the office said.

According to the Centers for Disease Control, of the nationwide 47,055 drug-overdose deaths in 2014 — an all-time high, and more people than died of liver disease or renal failure, of suicide, or in car accidents — heroin was responsible for over one-fifth.

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Tuesday, February 02, 2016

Westport Psychologist: Retirement May Cause Stress Image
A Westport psychologist, Stephen Temlock, told a Westport Library audience tonight that retirement can often be a stressful event. “Retiring is one of life’s major events,” said the adjunct professor at Columbia University’s Teachers College. “For some, retiring is a good thing, but for others, particularly for those who have been in high level positions, it may cause stress, anxiety and a sense of loss.” He added: “Life is about getting things done, but retirement is not about achievement so there’s often much stress in retirement created by the sudden void.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Tuesday, January 19, 2016

Blumenthal Bill Would Speed Generic Drug OK

By Kyle Constable

U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal, D-Conn., plans to introduce legislation intended to speed up FDA approval of generic prescription drugs and combat the “astronomic rise” in the cost of health care, he said today.

The bill, titled the “Fast Generics Act,” will be sponsored by Blumenthal and a number of other legislators. He announced the proposal and called for more federal action to combat high prescription drug prices during a panel discussion at Hartford Hospital.

“The astronomic rise in health care costs is due to lax enforcement, broken markets and, unfortunately, unvarnished greed,” Blumenthal said during the event. “There are more fundamental problems that need to be addressed. Many of the companies are too big – and are monopolies – and have misused their monopolistic power.”

Blumenthal called for stronger enforcement of federal antitrust laws and more transparency in drug costs, saying that claims of research and development necessitating the cost increases need to be verifiable.

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Sunday, October 25, 2015

NYT Columnist Jane Brody: Exercise Daily Image
There was a full house today at the Westport Center for Senior Activities for a talk by New York Times personal health columnist Jane Brody. In the event sponsored by AT&T and the Friends of the Senior Center, Brody urged her audience to be careful with what they eat and to exercise every day. “I don’t make a daily decision to exercise. I just do it,” she said. Brody, 74, will mark her 50th anniversary of writing her column in November. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Phyllis Groner for

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Tuesday, September 08, 2015

Anthem Individual Rates to Rise 2.4%, ConnectiCare’s 8.5%

By Arielle Levin Becker

Premiums for the 55,000 people who buy Anthem Blue Cross and Blue Shield health plans through the state’s individual market will rise by an average of 2.4 percent next year, while ConnectiCare Insurance Company’s 34,400 customers will see an average rate hike of 8.5 percent.

Both companies sought higher increases, but the Connecticut Insurance Department deemed their proposed rates excessive and required the companies to revise their proposals.

Similarly, Golden Rule, which covers 3,414 people, sought an 18.5 percent rate hike but, after revising it based on the regulator’s findings, will instead raise rates by 1.1 percent.

The requests by Anthem, ConnectiCare and Golden Rule were subject to a July public hearing.

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Tuesday, August 25, 2015

West Nile in Norwalk, ‘Matter of Time’ Here

By James Lomuscio

Although no mosquitoes in Westport of Weston have tested positive for West Nile Virus, “it is only a matter of time” since the virus has shown up in Norwalk and 14 other parts of the state, Mark A.R. Cooper, director of health for the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD), said today. Image
Mark A. R. Cooper: take precautions. File photo

“It is only a matter of time before mosquitoes become positive for the virus in Westport,” said Cooper. “It happens every year around this time.

“Therefore, it is time to start advising citizens to take precautions against mosquito bites,” he added.

According to recent reports from the New Haven-based Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station, “which has traps set up all over the state, including Westport,” said Cooper, 15 towns have trapped mosquitoes that tested positive for the virus.

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Tuesday, August 18, 2015

Westporter Who Led U.N. Ebola Effort: We Are Better Prepared Now Image
Anthony B. Banbury, a Westporrter who led the United Nations effort to fight the Ebola outbreak, told the Westport Rotary Club today the World Health Organization (WHO) is now better prepared to handle such epidemic outbreaks. The assistant secretary general, Department of Field Support said the WHO initially was slow to respond to the Ebola outbreak but has now developed crisis management expertise. Banbury, who moved to Westport six years ago, said the focus now must be on early detection of disease outbreaks and getting local people to report them. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Wednesday, July 01, 2015

Health District Ticks Off Tick Dangers

By James Lomuscio

While the wet summer has caused a proliferation of hungry mosquitoes at dusk and dawn, the West Nile virus is not yet a worry. Image
Ticks come in all sizes. photo

The big concern right now is deer ticks, and it’s not just Lyme disease, but illnesses far more frightening, according to Mark Cooper, director of the Westport Weston Health District (WWHD).

Just back from a workshop at the Connecticut Agricultural Experiment Station in New Haven, WWHD Director of Community Health Monica Wheeler said deer ticks can carry several other organisms and viruses that make Lyme pale in comparison.

One is babesiosis, which can cause malaria-like symptoms of cyclical fevers. Unlike Lyme, for which treatment requires a regimen of the heavy-duty antibiotic doxycycline, babeseosis requires anti-malaria drugs and quinine, as well as antibiotics, Wheeler said.

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Monday, June 08, 2015

For First Report Card, Sound Gets A to F Grades

By James Lomuscio

See full report here

Scientists today issued what they said was the first Long Island Sound health report card, giving the estuary an F in the area of New York’s East River and an A 110 miles away where it stretches to eastern Long Island and Block Island. Image
U.S. Sen. Richard Blumenthal addresses today’s Long Island Sound report card news conference at Sherwood Island State Park. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

Westport waters were not specifically graded but local officials speculated they were in the B to B-minus range.

The results from the National Fish and Wildlife Foundation (NFWF) were announced at a news conference at the Nature Center at Sherwood Island State Park in Westport with federal, state, and local politicians on hand.

The report card assessment of the 1 million-acre open and coastal waters sea was conducted by the University of Maryland’s Center for Environmental Science (UMCES).

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Thursday, May 07, 2015

House Votes to Tighten Religious Exemptions on Vaccines

By Mark Pazniokas

Inspired by the California measles outbreak, the Connecticut House voted 86 to 56 today to require parents to annually declare if they are refusing to vaccinate their children on religious grounds.

Legislators debated whether the requirement was a small step toward boosting Connecticut’s already high childhood immunization rate of 98.5 percent — or the bullying of a parental minority.

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Saturday, April 25, 2015

Comings & Goings: SoulCycle Officially Opens Image
SoulCycle opened for customers on Thursday at its new Westport location, 374 Post Road East in the Compo Acres Shopping Center, but today was the official opening and ribbon cutting. The popular exercise studio is in the former Jos. A. Bank clothiers location, which moved to Colonial Green. The SoulCycle website describes its activities this way: “SoulCycle doesn’t just change bodies, it changes lives. With inspirational instructors, candlelight, epic spaces, and rocking music, riders can let loose, clear their heads and empower themselves with strength that lasts beyond the studio walls.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Cutting the Ribbon Image
Cutting the ribbon at today’s grand opening of SoulCycle, 374 Post Road East, were ((l-r) Ben Simpson, asssistant manager, First Selectman Jim Marpe, Ronnie Bencosme, studio manager, and Alyssa Wintergrass, assistant manager. According to Chase Delano, SoulCycle regional marketing manager, the Westport studio is its 41st location in the country and the second site in the state, having opened in Greenwich two years ago. She said there are no memberships—“it’s pay as you go but packages are available.” (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Wednesday, December 03, 2014

Comings & Goings: SoulCycle to Compo Acres Image
SoulCycle, a salon for physical fitness spinning, will open at 372 Post Road East in the Compo Acres Shopping Center sometime in 2015, according to an employee in SoulCycle’s Greenwich salon.The New York-based business, founded in 2006 by Julie Rice and Elizabeth Cutler, now has 30 salons around the country including 13 in New York City and others in New Jersey, Connecticut, Westchester, Massachusetts, California and Washington, D.C. The Westport salon, located between Patriot National Bank and Choice Pet Supply is “months off from opening,” according to a worker for KBE Construction, contractors for New York-based Equity One, owners and property managers of the shopping center. It will open in the space previously occupied by Joseph A. Bank, which has moved to 260 Post Road East. (CLICK TO ENLARGE) Dave Matlow for

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Tuesday, October 28, 2014

CT to Handle Quarantines on Case-by-Case Basis

By Arielle Levin Becker

Connecticut will require all travelers from the West African countries most affected by the Ebola virus to be actively monitored, require those who meet certain risk factors to be quarantined, and will decide each case individually, according to a statement released by Gov. Dannel P. Malloy’s office Monday night.

The stated policy appears less stringent than one the Malloy administration issued Oct. 16, which said all asymptomatic people who come to Connecticut from Liberia, Sierra Leone or Guinea, or who have been in contact with someone with Ebola, would be quarantined. But an administration spokesman said the procedures outlined Monday are in line with what the state has implemented in the past week. Public health officials said last week that they could use discretion in handling individual cases.

State policies for addressing people possibly exposed to the deadly virus have received significant scrutiny in recent days following the diagnosis of Ebola in a New York City physician who had recently returned from volunteering in Guinea with the group Doctors Without Borders.

Soon after, the governors of New York and New Jersey announced mandatory quarantine policies for returning medical workers last week, triggering a backlash from public health experts.They warned that mandatory quarantines for medical providers showing no symptoms were not scientifically justified and could reduce the willingness of health care workers to volunteer to fight the outbreak in West Africa.

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Tuesday, August 26, 2014

Access Health CT Chief Leaving for Fed Job

By Arielle Levin Becker Image
Kevin Counihan: led Access Health CT through a relatively smooth launch. photo

Kevin Counihan is resigning as the chief executive of Connecticut’s health insurance exchange to lead the once-troubled federal Obamacare marketplace, officials announced today.

As CEO of the federal exchange, Counihan will assume responsibility for the insurance marketplace, a crucial piece of the Affordable Care Act that is used to enroll people in coverage in nearly three dozen states.

The federal exchange’s launch last fall was considered disastrous, and Counihan’s appointment comes less than three months before the Nov. 15 start of the second open enrollment period for private insurance.

Counihan will also run the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, a part of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services that plays a key role in implementing the health law.

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