Top CMS official to resign at month's end

A top official charged with implementing the Affordable Care Act will resign at the end of the month, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator Marilyn Tavenner told her staff in an email on Wednesday.

Tavenner said Gary Cohen, who as director of the Center for Consumer and Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO) set up the exchanges and established the regulations for insurance companies under ObamaCare, is leaving voluntarily to return home to California after less than two years on the job.

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Cohen is a former aide to Rep. John Garamendi (D-Calif.) and has also worked for the California insurance department.

“Under Gary’s 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 wrote.

“And of course, Gary led our policy work on the Marketplaces, ultimately leading to the 4 million people enrolled in coverage in the Marketplaces that the President announced last week,” she added.

Cohen was spared some of the highest-profile Congressional hearings in the wake of the failed HealthCare.gov launch.

However, a Bloomberg Businessweek report notes that at an October hearing, Rep. Michael Burgess (R-Texas) pressed Health and Human Services secretary Kathleen Sebelius to demand his resignation, insisting that Cohen had “misled” Congress about the status of the exchanges prior to the launch.

Sebelius responded that only she should be held responsible.

Dr. Mandy Cohen, who is presently a CCIIO director, will serve in Cohen’s spot on an interim basis.