April Todd-Malmlov, the former executive director of MNsure, the state of Minnesota’s Obamacare health exchange, is refusing to testify in the Minnesota Office of the Legislative Auditor’s (OLA) investigation into the troubled program.
Todd-Malmlov hired Obamacare architect Jonathan Gruber (as a subcontractor who developed the “Gruber-Gorman report” for Minnesota using his proprietary Gruber Microsimulation Model) in 2011, and approved $329,000 of invoices he submitted, all of which failed to provide the level of billing detail called for in his contract.
The OLA released its Evaluation Report: Minnesota Health Insurance Exchange (MNsure) on Wednesday, which documents that Gruber’s expensive projections were way off the mark on both premium costs and enrollments.
For instance, Gruber projected that “overall premium costs in the individual market-inside and outside the exchange-would fall by 34 percent on average.” However, the report found that “(i)n fact, an analysis by Yale University economist Amanda Kowalski supplemented by our own research, showed that, as of mid 2014, premium costs in the overall individual market in Minnesota averaged 5 percent higher.”
Gruber’s enrollment projections were no better.
“The 2013 Gruber-Gorman report projected that Minnesota’s health insurance exchange would enroll 1.3 million people in 2016… In fact, the exchange enrolled approximately 371,000 people as of November 11, 2014,” the report found.
In December, Republican State Representative Greg Davids criticized Gruber’s work and called on Minnesota Attorney General Lori Swanson to investigate Gruber’s billings practices and require him to refund the entire $329,000 he received for his projections.
“The error rate for Dr. Gruber’s work is beyond laughable,” Davids told Breitbart News.
Minnesota Attorney General Swanson did not respond to inquiries from Breitbart News to provide an update on her response to Representative David’s request.
In the OLA report, Legislative Auditor Jim Nobles noted that he first attempted to interview Todd-Malmlov on a voluntary basis but received no response. He then issued a subpoena to Todd-Malmlov, who is apparently no longer a resident of Minnesota but resides somewhere in the metropolitan Washington, D.C. area, where she is employed as a senior vice president at Avalere, a health care consulting firm.
The key findings of the OLA report blasted the launch of MNsure, which took place during Todd-Malmlov’s tenure:
(1) MNsure implemented its enrollment website in 2013 with serious technical problems.
(2) Federal law imposed an ambitious timeline on states developing exchanges. This challenge washeightened by late federal rules, delays in passing state legislation,and problems with vendor selectionand performance.
(3) MNsure staff withheld information from the MNsure Board and other key officials before the enrollment website was launched.
(4) The initial enrollment process was often lengthy, and technical problems frustrated consumers,insurers, and counties.
As part of its investigation, the OLA “solicited input through interviews and written information requests from MNsure staff and board members; staff from the Office of MN.IT Services (which provides information technology services to state agencies) and the Minnesota departments of Human Services, Health, and Management and Budget; representatives of key MNsure stakeholders, such as counties and health plans; and federal human services officials.”
“We requested to interview the person who served as director of Minnesota’s exchange from 2011 until her resignation in December 2013 [April Todd-Malmlov]; she did not respond directly to our requests,” the OLA report added.
In a footnote to the report, the OLA explained further:
We invited the former MNsure executive director to speak with us, and a second time we sent her a subpoena, but she did not respond either time. Her attorney contacted us on several occasions, but his conditions for an interview with the former director were not acceptable. Primarily, her attorney said the former director would only cooperate if the Office of the Legislative Auditor paid all expenses she incurred by cooperating, including her attorney’s fees.
Under Minnesota Statute 2007, 3.978, subdivision 2, current employees of the state of Minnesota are required to comply with requests for examinations by the legislative auditor:
All public officials and their deputies and employees… shall at all times afford reasonable facilities for examinations by the legislative auditor…”
It is unclear if the requirement of this law applies to former employees.
Since the OLA subpoena of Todd-Malmlov was likely issued in Minnestoa but delivered to Todd-Malmlov outside the state of Minnesota, compliance with it could only be enforced through the cooperation of the attorney general in the state or district in which she currently resides, most likely Maryland, Virginia, or the District of Columbia.
Breitbart News asked Todd-Malmlov’s attorney, Marshall Tanick, to provide the legal basis on which his client refused to testify before the OLA unless the condition that all her expenses related to that testimony, including his own legal fees, were accepted by the OLA prior to her testimony.
Breitbart News also asked Tanick to offer a comment on his client’s behalf concerning claims she failed to provide adequate contract oversight when she approved $329,000 of invoices submitted by Jonathan Gruber for his enrollment projections, all of which failed to provide the level of billing detail called for in his contract.
Tanick did not respond to any of our inquiries.
“Ms. Todd-Malmlov continually indicated a willingness to meet with the Legislative Auditor, as long as her rights were honored,” Tanick said in a statement released earlier.
Breitbart News contacted Legislative Auditor Nobles to inquire if he also attempted to interview Jonathan Gruber, but received no response. In addition, Nobles offered no explanation to Breitbart News or any other media outlet for his decision not to compel Todd-Malmlov to comply with the subpoena.
Minnesota is not the only state or federal entity with unresolved questions about Jonathan Gruber’s billing practices and the methodology he used in developing his Obamacare related economic projections.
Todd-Malmlov’s stonewalling of the OLA investigation into the launch of MNsure, and Jonathan Gruber’s role in that launch, is consistent with Gruber’s own pattern of stonewalling questions posed by other state and federal authorities.
In Vermont, for instance, Gruber has yet to respond to inquiries posed in December by State Auditor Doug Hoffman, who wants details about $80,000 of invoices submitted by Gruber and paid to him by the state of Vermont for work purportedly undertaken by unnamed research assistants.
In January, Hoffman described Gruber’s response to his requests for information as “unsatisfactory.” That characterization may soon change, however.
“I plan to release a memo next Monday,” Hoffman told Breitbart News when asked for an update on the status of his inquiries into Jonathan Gruber’s billing practices.
At the federal level, House Oversight and Government Reform chairman Jason Chaffetz has indicated that he may call Gruber back to testify before the committee, as the documents he provided in response to an earlier subpoena may not be sufficient.
“We’ve got to address it. We can’t just let ‘er go,” Chaffetz said in January.