Minnesota Governor Defends Health Exchange Director's Vacation
While Minnesota’s new health insurance exchange was scrambling toward a crucial deadline, its director was on a tropical vacation.
MNsure Director April Todd-Malmlov took a two-week trip to Costa Rica around Thanksgiving, leaving behind a state health insurance exchange plagued by glitches and under daily fire from critics.
Those critics now question why Todd-Malmlov left the country at a time when computer crashes were preventing some Minnesotans from buying insurance through the exchange and call centers were so understaffed that wait times for help stretched an hour or more.
During her absence, continued glitches forced state and county officials to double-check up to 40,000 applications to determine whether people were incorrectly denied premium subsidies or coverage on public programs, such as Medical Assistance or MinnesotaCare.
On Thursday, Gov. Mark Dayton defended Todd-Malmlov’s right to take a pre-scheduled vacation. He made no attempt to defend MNsure’s ongoing problems.
“I know that the executive director worked extraordinarily hard for months now, probably all of last year and my understanding was this was a long-planned vacation where financial commitments were made,” Dayton said. “I don’t know enough of the details, but it was obviously a critical time for MNsure and it is ultimately her responsibility.”
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