Tom Steward’s article should infuriate Minnesota’s taxpayers. Here’s what happened:
As thousands of frustrated Minnesotans were notified about glitches and errors in their applications on the state insurance exchange, April Todd-Malmlov took a two-week break.
Problem is, Todd-Malmlov is MNsure executive director. Her vacation, in November, included a trip to tropical Costa Rica.
Watchdog Minnesota Bureau obtained an out-of-office email reply from Todd-Malmlov’s state account, stamped Nov. 24. The email was from an applicant, who contacted her after trying for more than a month to obtain insurance coverage through the state’s online exchange.
Todd-Malmlov’s automated email reply stated she would be out of the office until Monday, Dec. 2. MNsure staff confirmed Todd-Malmov was out of the office for eight business days before the two-day Thanksgiving Day holiday for state employees.
Let’s be clear about this. Ms. Malmlov disappeared when MnSure problems were continuing. Here’s Ben Golnik’s statement about the things that were happening while Ms. Malmlov vacationed:
As problems continue with the Obamacare roll-out in Minnesota, troubling information came out today that MNsure Executive Director April Todd Malmlov took a two week vacation, traveling to Costa Rica. In recent weeks, among the new problems with MNsure: serious security issues with the MNsure website, 60 minute average wait times with MNsure call centers, and possible incorrect information provided to 30,000 consumers over tax credit eligibility.
I don’t begrudge public employees their vacations. It’s just infuriating to see the leader of an important department disappear while there’s a crisis. Leadership is required when there’s a crisis happening. Ms. Malmlov gets paid pretty well. In the private sector, when there’s a crisis, the director gets called back from their vacation or, if they haven’t left yet, their vacation is denied.
Ms. Todd-Malmlov’s actions are unacceptable. Real people who’ve received cancellation notices are worried MnSure won’t be working properly, causing these people to not have health insurance on Jan. 1, 2014. While Minnesota taxpayers are worried that they won’t have health insurance, Ms. Todd-Malmlov reacted by getting a fantastic tan in Costa Rica.
I won’t ask what’s wrong with that picture because everything’s wrong with that picture.