Meet HealthCare.gov's first-ever new boss—he's Connecticut Obamacare's old boss.
The Obama administration on Tuesday moved to shake up the way the federal Obamacare health insurance exchange is run, appointing the head of Connecticut's successful exchange to lead HealthCare.gov.
Kevin Counihan, who spent two years overseeing Access Health CT, becomes the first person whose sole responsibility is running HealthCare.gov, whose
That federal marketplace sells private Obamacare insurance plans in 36 states, and closely deals with the 15 exchanges run by individual states and the District of Columbia. Counihan, who told reporters Tuesday that he was recruited for the federal job, also will be responsible for running the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.
His appointment as CEO comes nearly 11 months after HealthCare.gov's botched launch, which was blamed in part on unclear lines of authority over the exchange.
It also comes as HealthCare.gov prepares for Obamacare's second-enrollment season. Despite strongly recovering after its disastrous first two months well enough to enroll 8 million people by mid-April, HealthCare.gov is still undergoing work that could affect its operation when open-enrollment resumes Nov. 15.
Counihan, during an interview with CNBC's "Street Signs," acknowledged that everything is not likely to work perfectly for HealthCare.gov this season.
"There's going to be more problems . . . more work to be done, but every year it's going to be easier," said Counihan. He also said he said it is important to have "clear lines of accountability" in an organization like HealthCare.gov, which he added would benefit from some "private-sector principles."
Counihan, 59, will report directly to Marilyn Tavenner, head of the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which is responsible for HealthCare.gov's operation.
He previously served, from 2006 until 2011, as chief marketing officer for Massachusetts' health exchange, which was set up by then-Gov. Mitt Romney, and which became one of the templates for Obamacare.