(Bloomberg) Gary Cohen, the top U.S. health insurance regulator accused by congressional Republicans of misleading them before the troubled start of the Obamacare insurance website, will resign.
Cohen will step down as director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight at the end of the month, when the first enrollment period for the health-care law concludes, Marilyn Tavenner, the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and Cohens boss, said yesterday in an e-mail to employees. Cohens office is part of Tavenners agency.
Cohens departure is voluntary, Tavenner said. His agency devised the regulations for the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Acts insurance exchanges, though it wasnt responsible for building healthcare.gov, the federal exchange that failed in October, leaving millions of Americans unable to enroll in health plans. Cohens office also monitors insurers premiums and enforces consumer protections under the health law.
Under his leadership, CCIIO established the rules which have made the promise of the Affordable Care Act a reality for millions of Americans who now can have the security of health coverage without regard to their previous health condition, and can know that their insurance will cover all the most common services they will need, Tavenner said.
Cohen will be replaced on an interim basis by Mandy Cohen, a medical doctor who manages consumer assistance for the agency, Tavenner said. Cohens departure was reported earlier by Politico.
Rep. Michael Burgess, a Texas Republican, told the U.S. Health Secretary Kathleen Sebelius during a hearing Oct. 30 that she should ask for Cohens resignation. He had misled Congress in testimony prior to the Oct. 1 opening of the federal health insurance exchange website, Burgess said, by insisting that any problems would be minor and the project was largely on schedule.
Sebelius refused, telling lawmakers to hold me accountable for healthcare.govs failures.
Cohen was an attorney, an insurance executive and an insurance regulator in California before taking over the federal agency in August 2012. Tavenners e-mail was silent on Cohens future, saying only that he would return home. Cohen didnt respond to an e-mail asking about his plans.
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