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

in Election 2014, Local

No Lame Duck Tax Increase, Says Rauner

Bruce Rauner (R), Pat Quinn

Rauner does not want repeat of 2011

in Local

Reverse Agriculture Trade Mission Kicks Off in Auburn

soybeans

Illinois attracts international tourists. They are easy to spot along Michigan Avenue in Chicago. Downstate farm fields, not so much – except for this week.

in Election 2014, Local

McFarland Enters City Council Race, Seeks Ward 4 Seat

mcfarland

A school board member is switching it up next year -- running instead for Ward 4 on the city council.

in Local

Area Economic Health is Still in Poor but Guarded Condition

UIS logo

Some guarded optimism for area's business health

in Local

Saturday Shooting Victim Identified; Still in Critical Condition

gun

A man shot in the face late Saturday night is still in critical condition.