A follow-up to a story we mentioned yesterday. Like her failed Obamacare colleague in Maryland, Minnesota's embattled exchange director has stepped down. April Todd-Malmlov decided it would be a good idea to take a lengthy holiday in Costa Rica as the state's new healthcare system -- for which she was responsible -- was still failing many Minnesotans. Until recently, Democratic Gov. Mark Dayton defended Todd-Malmlov's "right" to take this sunny two-week getaway, but public outrage hasn't subsided. She's out:
MNsure executive director April Todd-Malmlov left her $136,000-a-year post during a closed-door meeting with the program’s executive committee...Todd-Malmlov’s abrupt departure comes as thousands of Minnesotans scramble to enroll in the state’s online insurance marketplace by Jan. 1. The implementation of Minnesota’s program has gone more smoothly than in other states, but it still has been marked by countless technical glitches, delays and frustrated consumers...The outrage over Todd-Malmlov intensified following revelations that she and state Medicaid director James Golden took a nearly two-week tropical vacation late last month, even as the program was swamped with problems. According to Star Tribune records, the two live together and have worked closely on the implementation of the new exchange. Todd-Malmlov did not respond to repeated requests for comment.
These two incompetent lovebirds flitted off to paradise, leaving behind thousands of ordinary people to grapple with the consequences of their failures. That's what being a public servant is all about, dontcha know? The governor's stance, incidentally, has shifted from asserting Todd-Malmlov's "right" to a wildly ill-timed and undeserved vacation, to declaring the whole situation "unacceptable." Smooth work, gov. Here's a nifty companion piece to Todd-Malmlov's departure:
Minnesota’s health-care exchange is asking about 1,000 applicants to reapply so they can receive insurance premium subsidies. MNsure had issues computing those subsidies earlier; the problem only applies to those who applied for insurance but didn’t enroll and don’t have a family member on a government health program such as Medicaid. The exchange is calling this group to inform them that they must reapply. Meanwhile, the exchange’s website, which recently eliminated a security vulnerability, was down Monday for people applying for new coverage.
In related news, Kathleen Sebelius still has her job -- though she won't say whether she's offered to resign. Over in Martin O'Malley's Maryland, the potential contingency plan of scrapping the state's horribly broken ($107 million) Obamacare exchange, and directing consumers to the federal website, remains viable. The governor himself has reportedly said that option is on the table. And across the country in Oregon, Obamacare officials have halted airings of trippy commercials advertising the state's exchange -- which is widely regarded as the one of the nation's most dysfunctional programs:
You know those quirky, hipster ads with the “Live Long in Oregon” jingle you can’t get out of your head? They’re going away…for now. Bruce Goldberg, acting executive director of Cover Oregon, said during a Monday press conference that the ads will be on hold while the agency focuses on getting people enrolled. “We think it’s appropriate to hold off on any further advertising,” he said, noting the agency has pulled most of the ads while keeping some billboards. Critics of the quirky, vague and expensive ads will likely rejoice. The ad campaign was originally slated for about $10 million, but then officials doubled it to $21 million in October.