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Exciting appointment speculation!


Jon Kingsdale (pictured) is the founding executive director of the Massachusetts Connector. That is to say, he built and runs the insurance exchange at the heart of the Massachusetts health-care reform. And as Alec MacGillis reports, he's resigning. "In my next venture," he said, "I hope to play some role in national healthcare reform."

Hmm. That could mean Kingsdale is going private, advising firms trying to understand how the new law affects them. It could mean he's going nonprofit, advising foundations and advocacy groups trying to maximize the new law's effectiveness. Or it could mean he'll be popping up at the White House soon. I'd hope for the latter: Kingsdale is one of very few people in the country who has experience implementing something like this, and the administration is going to need all the experience it can get. (To hear a bit more from Kingsdale, check out this interview we did in December.)

Which reminds me of another bit of appointment speculation I've been meaning to make: Mark McClellan was a senior adviser to George W. Bush, a former head of the FDA and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, and remains a celebrated health-care policy expert. He's also been fairly positive -- without being uncritical -- on the Obama reforms, as you can see in this interview. Appointing him to a visible and important position would be an easy way to score some bipartisan points and grab someone who can talk to Republican legislators while also getting a good and experienced bureaucrat into place. Sweetening the pot is the fact that McClellan also has recent implementation experience, as he was in charge of the rocky, but ultimately successful, rollout of Medicare Part D.

Photo credit: NEHI.

By Ezra Klein  |  April 16, 2010; 9:43 AM ET
Categories:  Health Reform  
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Mark McClellan is a brilliant, brilliant guy, and not a partisan hack. He got his MD from Harvard, a PhD in economics from MIT, and a masters in public administration from the Kennedy School. (whew!).

How he ever fell into favor with the Bush crowd is beyond me.

His father, Barr McClellan, was on LBJ's personal legal team in Austin.

Posted by: Rick00 | April 16, 2010 9:52 AM | Report abuse

Jon Kingsdale is running for the hills because he knows that Masshealth is going to implode soon. He'll be working for a insurance company showing them how to game the system.

Posted by: obrier2 | April 16, 2010 10:06 AM | Report abuse

This is the first we hear that IMPLEMENTATION is going to be a problem. ya think?????????? This will be a huge honey pot for those with hands on it. I say, let the looting begin!

Posted by: truck1 | April 16, 2010 10:27 AM | Report abuse

heard at a meeting today there was talk of a regional exchange being talked about up and down the east coast from at least Maine to Virginia.

At the end of that meeting though they said that it was just speculation and they didn't expect it to happen. Wonder if it did if he'd be looking to run that.

They're going to need somebody that knows what they're doing otherwise this will be a colossal mess.

They're already dealing with issues relating to the high risk pools, dependents to age 26, end of pre-ex on kids and other early starts to how the legislation is to be carried out.

Just an FYI now insurers will have to pre-ex a parent potentially but not a child. Its almost a month since the law passed and still no regs to be found.

Posted by: visionbrkr | April 16, 2010 11:29 AM | Report abuse

I would have hoped DeParle and Sibelius would have had their people ready to go. How many Republican votes would either Kingsdale or McClellan get for confirmation to a top position?

Posted by: bharshaw | April 16, 2010 1:56 PM | Report abuse


most times you get politicians involved they screw it up.

I'm in the process of now untangling a mess that happened because a client's former employee contacted Rep Andrews' office about the ARRA subsidy and on account of Rep Andrews' actions they are now likely making her subject to pre-ex because Rep Andrews' office requested (and Aetna complied because they're deathly afraid of politicians, especially ones like Andrews) that her COBRA subsidy date be changed from March 1st until August 1st 2009 because she didn't receive the info in a timely manner from the insurer relating to the subsidy and the reason behind that was that the regulations took so long to come down and were changed ad nauseum by the state. This lapse from March to August is going to subject her to pre-ex because its more than a 62 day lapse in coverage.

Thanks for all your help Rep Andrews!!

Posted by: visionbrkr | April 16, 2010 2:25 PM | Report abuse

You can find full Medical Insurance coverage at the lowest price from

Posted by: MaryJames1 | April 17, 2010 5:37 AM | Report abuse

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