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Former Gov. Rounds joins health insurance task force

Former South Dakota Gov. Mike Rounds is back in the insurance game, but he hasn't left public policy and politics behind.

Rounds said Friday that he has joined a task force affiliated with the Bipartisan Policy Center in Washington, D.C., where former South Dakota Sen. Tom Daschle has been a co-leader in health care reform work since 2008.

Rounds said he will be a co-chairman in a new health care initiative along with Daschle, former U.S. Sen. Bill Frist of Tennessee and former Ohio Gov. Ted Strickland. The task force will examine ways for states to meet health care challenges and to address provisions of the new health care reform law.

"We're looking to find bipartisan responses to some of these things," Rounds said. "I have a real interest in the health care project, where Sen. Daschle will be actively involved."

Rounds said he liked the philosophy of the Bipartisan Policy Center, which engages people of differing political backgrounds and philosophies to seek compromise solutions to important problems.

"We don't check our credentials at the door. We bring them," Rounds said. "But we respect other points of view and look for areas where we can agree."

Daschle said Friday that he welcomes Rounds to a bipartisan effort he considers crucial to health care reform.

"It is the only way this will ever work," Daschle said of. "Our primary purpose is to explore how states can move forward in providing health insurance under the Affordable Care Act. I am delighted to be working with Gov. Rounds on this."

Rounds, 56, finished his second four-year term as South Dakota governor in early January. He was prohibited by term limits from running for a third consecutive term.

Contact Kevin Woster at 394-8413 or

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