MNSure director forced out after taking vacation while ObamaCare burned

posted at 10:41 am on December 18, 2013 by Ed Morrissey

Minnesota’s ObamaCare exchange hasn’t attracted a lot of attention, except for its strange ad campaign and a jaw-dropping security breach this autumn, but MNSure hasn’t exactly distinguished itself as a success, either. The technical problems in the MNSure system have been so constant and intractable that even Governor Mark Dayton, an enthusiastic backer of ObamaCare, has been forced to publicly criticize the agency for its performance. Unlike the Obama administration, where the same people who produced the failure are in charge of fixing it, MNSure’s leadership got forced outafter returning from vacation:

The embattled director of the state’s fledgling health insurance exchange resigned Tuesday amid mounting criticism of her leadership and the troubled rollout of the new health care program.

MNsure executive director April Todd-Malmlov left her $136,000-a-year post during a closed-door meeting with the program’s executive committee. The board named Scott Leitz, the state’s assistant commissioner of health care, to the newly created position of interim CEO while it conducts a national search for a permanent chief executive. …

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 had worked closely on the implementation of the new exchange.

If that arrangement sounds a little questionable, then Scott Leitz’ appointment should raise eyebrows, too. KSTP reported in October that the state opened an investigation into Leitz after issuing an illegal exemption in a backroom deal with a major health care provider:

Fairview’s Amplatz Children’s Hospital was facing Medicaid cuts as part of a plan to save money in the program. But, according to the investigation, DHS employees grew concerned when Assistant Commissioner Leitz met with Fairview officials and agreed to exempt Amplatz from the Medicaid cuts because it is a children’s hospital. Investigative notes from the complaint indicate that over four years Amplatz could receive as much as $17.9 million from the State and Feds for a combined $35.8 million.

The DHS investigation says “it does not appear that DHS’ decision to give Amplatz retroactive exemption from the 10 percent (Medicaid) rate reduction was consistent with the law.” The whistle blowers contend in the complaint that Amplatz doesn’t qualify for the exemption from the Medicaid rate cut because it is not a licensed, stand-alone children’s hospital and it does not meet minimum requirements for treating a certain percentage of patients from low-income families.

Duluth’s St. Mary’s Children’s Hospital and Mayo’s Children’s Hospital are similar to Amplatz and do not receive the Medicaid exemption, according the complaint.

The initial investigation’s conclusions recommended immediate action on two allegations and a deeper investigation on three more.  So far, there’s no word on whether MDHS has done anything about Leitz, but MNSure’s endorsement isn’t exactly a ringing clarion call for excellence and judgment, to say the least.


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The lawsuits from this disaster will still be coming a decade away from now.

Johnnyreb on December 18, 2013 at 10:46 AM

Follow the money, and it always ends at a liberal.

unclesmrgol on December 18, 2013 at 10:48 AM

According to Star Tribune records, the two live together and have had worked closely on the implementation of the new exchange.

Isn’t that a cozy relationship!

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2013 at 10:49 AM

Sounds a lot like the President. He’s really earned his Christmas vacation. He’s worked really, really hard that one day when he should have gone to Gettysburg. Obozo and his scumhag wife should be forced to repay the country every dime they spend on vacation. They are a disgrace and so are the people that voted for him.

Flange on December 18, 2013 at 10:50 AM

didnt the maryland director also take a vacation during the successful roll out there?

Mr. Bingley on December 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM

didnt the maryland director also take a vacation during the successful roll out there?

Mr. Bingley on December 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Indeed. I see a pattern developing.

JusDreamin on December 18, 2013 at 10:57 AM

after returning from vacation:

That seems to be a recurring theme with these directors.

Gatsu on December 18, 2013 at 10:58 AM

didnt the maryland director also take a vacation during the successful roll out there?

Mr. Bingley on December 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Yep, gotta love my state.

They are now flirting with the idea of directing people to the government site too.

Its like saying “do you want to be kicked in the nuts, or do you want to be KICKED in the nuts?”

Gatsu on December 18, 2013 at 10:59 AM

…..and yet another full-employment act for attorneys.

roy_batty on December 18, 2013 at 11:02 AM

didnt the maryland director also take a vacation during the successful roll out there?

Mr. Bingley on December 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Yes she did: http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/12/09/maryland-becomes-third-state-to-see-obamacare-exchange-director-go/

Pearce, who was appointed to the job in 2011 and previously worked at Kaiser Permanente, was criticized for taking a vacation to the Cayman Islands during Thanksgiving week while repairs to the site continued. She was not checking e-mail or voicemail while on vacation, a spokeswoman for the board, Dori Henry, confirmed Saturday. The vacation was first reported by the Baltimore Sun.

Doomberg on December 18, 2013 at 11:07 AM

Sounds a lot like the President. He’s really earned his Christmas vacation…..

Flange on December 18, 2013 at 10:50 AM

….I think he’ll start making up now for all those “lost vacations”…for Mooch!

KOOLAID2 on December 18, 2013 at 11:08 AM

MNsure executive director April Todd-Malmlov left her $136,000-a-year post during a closed-door meeting with the program’s executive committee.

.
Was that $136,000-a-year before or after benefits? ‘Cause those health care plans, they be worth a lot of money that isn’t taxable, even for government employees.
.
So… how much was she paid, really?

ExpressoBold on December 18, 2013 at 11:09 AM

How many of these directors have resigned so far? Maryland, Oregon (I think), and Minnesota come to mind. There will probably be more.

NavyMustang on December 18, 2013 at 11:12 AM

They are now flirting with the idea of directing people to the government site too.

Gatsu on December 18, 2013 at 10:59 AM

Wow and they were so smug about being the model for all state exchanges.

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2013 at 11:13 AM

….I think he’ll start making up now for all those “lost vacations”…for Mooch!

KOOLAID2 on December 18, 2013 at 11:08 AM

A good signal to watch for is, if the media wants to start looking like they’re “journalists” instead of obozo cheerleaders, how they report on his vacations. I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing stories about how much his vacations cost popping up in places like the NYT and WaPo.

Flange on December 18, 2013 at 11:16 AM

Wow and they were so smug about being the model for all state exchanges.

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2013 at 11:13 AM

They certainly were. O’Malley had been planning his run for president in 2016 at least partly based upon a successful implementation of Obamacare.

I can just see him rattling off some line, like: “I made Obamacare work for Maryland, and I can make it work for America!”

Doomberg on December 18, 2013 at 11:18 AM

A good signal to watch for is, if the media wants to start looking like they’re “journalists” instead of obozo cheerleaders, how they report on his vacations. I wouldn’t be surprised to start seeing stories about how much his vacations cost popping up in places like the NYT and WaPo.

Flange on December 18, 2013 at 11:16 AM

We are not there yet. The bastard, the vile Yeti he married, and their worthless brats can spend millions on a vacation in Hawaii but you pretty much have to be openly gay and insignificant to be part of the US Delegation to the Winter Olympiad.

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM

Isn’t it interesting that there are other state exchanges that are having similar issues with the performance, veracity, and competence of the senior officials responsible for those exchanges?

Is there a pattern in that these officials are progressive Democrats?

The sacking of those officials should be the norm – as it would be in the private sector if they oversaw a disaster of this scale there. But with the progressive Democrats, it seems to be the exception. Perhaps it’s based with their fundamental dislike of accountability or responsibility (unless the person being held accountable or responsible is a conservative or Republican)?

Athos on December 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM

I can just see him rattling off some line, like: “I made Obamacare work for Maryland, and I can make it work for America!”

Doomberg on December 18, 2013 at 11:18 AM

Yeah, he’ll still be using that line. Facts don’t matter to Democrats. But O’Malley isn’t gunning for POTUS he wants to be the VEEP. Because, of course, Spiro Agnew turned out to be such a role model for Maryland politicians. ;0

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2013 at 11:22 AM

This is not the only State Health Care official to get canned nor is it the only State Health Care Official that went on a Tropical vacation at the start up. ARE their some dots here that need to be connected with other states like Maryland?

jpcpt03 on December 18, 2013 at 11:25 AM

Vactioning while Rome burns? What’s so crazy about that; Obama is about to go to Hawaii on a $4 million dollar taxpayer paid boondoggle while Americans whose insurance was cancelled have to wake up to January 1 already in deep financial doodooo.

January 1. We get the shaft, he gets a free trip to Hawaii.

Thanks Democrats, you evil @#%&!

MTF on December 18, 2013 at 11:26 AM

The accompanying pic is wrong, this is the real Paul Bunyan.

whatcat on December 18, 2013 at 11:34 AM

We are not there yet.

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2013 at 11:20 AM

No we’re not. But if/when the media turns on him, it will be with stories of him personally wasting money and that sort of thing. They won’t attack him for pushing a failed idea, but merely lying about it, such as obozocare. It will be stories about how he and the Yeti waste money on parties and vacations, not the money they wasted on Fisker and Solyndra.

Flange on December 18, 2013 at 11:35 AM

MNsure executive director April Todd-Malmlov

She has one of those hyphenated names. That makes her a hero in my book!

According to Star Tribune records, the two live together

If she marries the guy, will she then be April Golden-Todd-Malmlov or April Todd-Malmlov-Golden? What do the kids do?

How does that work exactly?

mankai on December 18, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Its like saying “do you want to be kicked in the nuts, or do you want to be KICKED in the nuts?”

Gatsu on December 18, 2013 at 10:59 AM

That there’s funny (especially to a fellow resident).

SomeCallMeJohn on December 18, 2013 at 11:39 AM

Spiro Agnew turned out to be such a role model for Maryland politicians. ;0

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2013 at 11:22 AM

In Maryland from the 1967 to 1987 we had 3 elected governors, Spiro Agnew, Marvin Mandel and Harry Hughes, with one acting governor Blair Lee. The last being a lack luster term for Harry Hughes. When asked “what did Hughes accomplish”, I answered that he was the First Governor in twenty years that did NOT go to jail”.

jpcpt03 on December 18, 2013 at 11:42 AM

They won’t attack him for pushing a failed idea, but merely lying about it, such as obozocare. It will be stories about how he and the Yeti waste money on parties and vacations, not the money they wasted on Fisker and Solyndra.

Flange on December 18, 2013 at 11:35 AM

Oh! They won’t say he lied. He will have been misled by the people around him. He was just so darned trusting that when Sebelius told him that Obamacare’s website was ready he took her at her word. When Lois Lerner spoke of eight rogue low-level IRS employees, he believed her. And he had no reason not to believe that Benghazi was a spontaneous attack over a YouTube video.

But as to the personal expenses, there will come a time where they become more critical of the excess to the point that lobsters get nervous whenever Mooch enters a room. The million dollar birthday bash next month might be the first sign of a turned media.

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2013 at 11:45 AM

Another job lost due to obamacare. So sad.

HumpBot Salvation on December 18, 2013 at 11:47 AM

In Maryland from the 1967 to 1987 we had 3 elected governors, Spiro Agnew, Marvin Mandel and Harry Hughes, with one acting governor Blair Lee. The last being a lack luster term for Harry Hughes. When asked “what did Hughes accomplish”, I answered that he was the First Governor in twenty years that did NOT go to jail”.

jpcpt03 on December 18, 2013 at 11:42 AM

Spiro Agnew, Marvin Mandel, William Donald Schaefer….. Maryland has certainly had its share of “characters.”

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2013 at 11:49 AM

Oh! They won’t say he lied. He will have been misled by the people around him.

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2013 at 11:45 AM

I think that’s what they’re doing now, but at some point they’ll have to blame him personally. It’s just easier and neater to blame him and his inner circle than to blame the entire party and their philosophy. I’d love to see his birthday bash blow up in his face, but I suspect the media will try and wait until after the elections in Nov.

Flange on December 18, 2013 at 11:55 AM

It’s just easier and neater to blame him and his inner circle than to blame the entire party and their philosophy. I’d love to see his birthday bash blow up in his face, but I suspect the media will try and wait until after the elections in Nov.

Flange on December 18, 2013 at 11:55 AM

Easier, neater, and necessary for the good of the cause. Discredit Obama before he discredits all the socialists.

But point of clarification, the million dollar birthday bash isn’t for him. Mooch is turning 50!

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Honey, we need to take a vacation right now, cuz in a few weeks all hell is gonna break loose and I’m gonna be fired.

BobMbx on December 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

…..and yet another full-employment act for attorneys.

roy_batty on December 18, 2013 at 11:02 AM

In view of recent news, I wonder how much additional education is required for, say, an early-retired MD to get a law degree so they will be back to full employment too.

Tsar of Earth on December 18, 2013 at 12:04 PM

But point of clarification, the million dollar birthday bash isn’t for him. Mooch is turning 50!

Happy Nomad on December 18, 2013 at 12:00 PM

Even better, there’s even less reason for the money to be spent on his bitter half.

Flange on December 18, 2013 at 12:11 PM

It’s corruption and incompetence all the way down.

stevezilla on December 18, 2013 at 1:27 PM

didnt the maryland director also take a vacation during the successful roll out there?

Mr. Bingley on December 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Yes she did: http://washington.cbslocal.com/2013/12/09/maryland-becomes-third-state-to-see-obamacare-exchange-director-go/

Pearce, who was appointed to the job in 2011 and previously worked at Kaiser Permanente, was criticized for taking a vacation to the Cayman Islands during Thanksgiving week while repairs to the site continued. She was not checking e-mail or voicemail while on vacation, a spokeswoman for the board, Dori Henry, confirmed Saturday. The vacation was first reported by the Baltimore Sun.

Doomberg on December 18, 2013 at 11:07 AM

I’m wondering how many of these chosen “vacation” spots are ones which, like the Cayman Islands, are offshore banking/account havens.

I’m also wondering how many of them are ones which do not have extradition treaties with the United States.

clear ether

eon

eon on December 18, 2013 at 2:52 PM

Are you kidding me?! Obamacare’s architects are off to the tropics while the clusterf*** keeps rolling on? These people are incredible.

evergreen on December 18, 2013 at 3:13 PM

didnt the maryland director also take a vacation during the successful roll out there?

Mr. Bingley on December 18, 2013 at 10:51 AM

Indeed. I see a pattern developing.

JusDreamin on December 18, 2013 at 10:57 AM

All this cozy corruption and nest-building sure does get in the way of building the progressive utopia.

There Goes the Neighborhood on December 18, 2013 at 3:24 PM

When the going gets tough…..take a tropical vacation. I bet she thought it would all be roses once obamacare passed and she could sit in her high office and take a paycheck every two weeks.

jaywemm on December 18, 2013 at 8:34 PM