official in charge of Obamacare exchanges resigns
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[March 07, 2014]
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
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
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.
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"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,"
His temporary replacement is Dr. Mandy Cohen, a physician who
currently heads the insurance oversight agency's consumer support
(Reporting by David Morgan; editing by Leslie Adler)
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