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 Entertainment, National

Obama: Sony hack not an act of war

Fresh
interview

President Barack Obama says the massive hacking was not an act of war but instead was cyber-vandalism.

in Viral Videos

One-man band entertains Seattle airport passengers

Fresh
23-overlay2

This guy will brighten the day of even the most beleaguered traveler.

in Trending, Viral Videos

TODAY’S MUST SEE: ‘Dr. Evil’ on the Sony hack

Fresh
20-overlay2

Mike Myers interrupts "Saturday Night Live" to address North Korea and Sony Pictures directly about the hack.

in Entertainment

Final ‘Hobbit’ wins weekend box office

Fresh
In this image released by Warner Bros. Pictures, Martin Freeman appears in a scene from the film, "The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies."

The last movie of Peter Jackson's three "Hobbit" films rode to the top of the weekend box office.

in Entertainment

Holiday homes that put Clark Griswold to shame

Fresh
24-overlay1

Unravel these ... we need to check every bulb.