News

Official in charge of Obamacare exchanges resigns

Official in charge of Obamacare exchanges resigns

OBAMACARE: Gary Cohen, Deputy Administrator and Director of the U.S. Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, testifies before a House Energy and Commerce Oversight. Photo: Reuters

WASHINGTON (Reuters) – A top U.S. healthcare official, accused by Republicans of misleading Congress about the readiness of the Obamacare rollout, will resign from his post at the end of March, officials said on Thursday.

The departure of Gary Cohen as director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) was announced within the administration on Wednesday in an email from his boss, Marilyn Tavenner, administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Cohen, a former California insurance regulator who took up his post in August 2012, has overseen regulatory implementation of the Obamacare health insurance marketplaces, a process that often drew fire from insurers and lawmakers for its slow pace and numerous revisions.

Along with Tavenner and U.S. Health and Human Services Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, Cohen was among top officials who assured Congress that the October 1 launch of the federal enrollment website HealthCare.gov would be successful.

After technical failures rendered the site unusable for most consumers in the first two weeks of the rollout, Republicans accused him of giving them misinformation. Cohen, who was not directly responsible for HealthCare.gov, replied that his earlier optimism had been based on staff reports.

At a January hearing, two House of Representative Republicans told him point blank that he should be fired.

But Tavenner’s March 5 email to CMS staff described Cohen’s March 31 departure at the end of the open enrollment period as amicable.

“I asked Gary to make the personal sacrifice of moving to the East Coast and leaving his family to lead CCIIO. I am very grateful to Gary for his service and knew that the time would come when he would return home. He says that time is at the end of open enrollment,” Tavenner wrote.

His temporary replacement is Dr. Mandy Cohen, a physician who currently heads the insurance oversight agency’s consumer support group.

(Reporting by David Morgan; Editing by Leslie Adler)

Recent Headlines

7 hours ago in Local

State Museum to Reopen with Governor’s Amendatory Veto

Illinois State Museum

Rauner has amendatorily vetoed a bill lawmakers approved a few months ago that would reopen the museum and all its satellite locations.

8 hours ago in Local

Woman Convicted of Involuntary Manslaughter of Child Sentenced

Cammie Kelly

Cammie Kelly is going to prison for four years.

8 hours ago in Local

Students to Rauner: Don’t Close Our National Guard Armory

Delavan High School Students

Students from the Peoria area showed up at the Capitol in an effort to save their local National Guard Armory from closing.

8 hours ago in Local

Rauner Touts Government Consolidation

rauner

The proposals include legislation allowing voters to decide whether to dissolve units of local government.

10 hours ago in Local

Artifacts to be Removed from Rock Island Arsenal Collection

Rock Island Arsenal

About 3,200 artifacts will be removed from the Rock Island Arsenal Museum's collection amid an upcoming reduction in staff.