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Kevin Counihan, who headed up Connecticut’s successful health insurance exchange, has been named CEO of Healthcare.gov. It’s a new job, one that the new Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell promised to create when she was named earlier this year.
“We are building strong teams with the focus and know-how necessary to advance our mission and deliver impact for the people we serve,” Burwell said in a statement Tuesday. "AccessHealthCT worked well right out of the gate and became a model for other states struggling to get their exchanges operating at their full potential," added Neera Tanden, president of the pro-Obama think tank, the Center for American Progress. Counihan will be tasked with the final steps of fixing Healthcare.gov, which crashed spectacularly when it was rolled out last year. The federal government ended up firing most of the contractors who built it and has brought in a fresh team. Counihan will also become the public face of the exchange program, which is at the center of healthcare reform. He’ll work with the states that run their own exchanges, such as Connecticut's, and will be in charge of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, which regulates health insurance plans. The exchanges will be under scrutiny again when open enrollment for 2015 starts in November.