The Campaign Spot

Why Are State-Exchange Directors Running Off to the Caribbean?

This is bizarre. Why do state Obamacare health-insurance-exchange directors keep running off to the Caribbean?

In Minnesota: Last month, while Minnesota’s new health insurance exchange site was scrambling to fix glitches and under fire from critics, its director was on vacation.

MNsure director April Todd-Malmlov took a two-week vacation to Costa Rica around Thanksgiving.

The article goes on to say, “Gov. Mark Dayton defended her right to take a pre-scheduled trip” but his comments don’t actually sound that supportive:

“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.”

We’re past the point where MNsure’s problems are acceptable,” Dayton said. “People who are calling should get prompt, efficient service…Fix the glitches.”

This comes after Maryland’s insurance-exchange director resigned after an ill-timed vacation:

As state lawmakers grilled [State Health Secretary Joshua] Sharfstein on Nov. 26 on why the health exchange was still broken, [exchange director Rebecca] Pearce was on a week’s vacation in the Cayman Islands.

During the trip, she could not be reached by phone, email or text, the health department said Friday.

[Lieutenant Gov. Anthony] Brown said in an interview Friday that he did not know Pearce planned to leave town until she was already gone. He called her absence during the week of Thanksgiving a “very” big problem. “We just launched a staff surge and we needed all hands on deck,” he said. “Now is not the time to take a vacation.”

Why are they taking these vacations in the middle of the mess? Or perhaps the question is, why are they coming back?