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 Local Sports

Cougar & Husky doubleheader on KPUG

pac 12 logo

The Washington State Cougars welcome the Arizona Wildcats, the Washington Huskies host the Arizona State Sun Devils on Saturday and you can hear both games on KPUG 1170.

in Local Sports

Jenn Paul named GNAC Golfer of the Week

western washington logo generic copy/wwu

Western Washington University's Jenn Paul has been named Great Northwest Athletic Conference Women's Golfer of the Week for Oct. 19-25.

in Local Sports

Bellingham routs Wenatchee

bellingham blazers logo

The Bellingham Blazers beat the Wenatchee Wolves on Friday night at the Bellingham Sportsplex.

in Sports

Mariota throws 5 TD’s, No. 6 Oregon beats Cal

Oregon quarterback Marcus Mariota is shown warming up for an NCAA college football game against UCLA in Eugene, Ore., Saturday, Oct. 26, 2013.

Marcus Mariota broke the Oregon record for career passing yards in the No. 6 Ducks' 59-41 victory over California on Friday night.

in Local Sports

Lillard leads Trail Blazers past Clippers

Portland Trail Blazers coach Terry Stotts walks onto the floor past Damian Lillard (0) during the first scheduled timeout in an NBA basketball game against the Phoenix Suns on Wednesday, Oct. 30, 2013, in Phoenix.

The Portland Trail Blazers concluded their preseason with a 99-89 victory against the Los Angeles Clippers on Friday.