The federal health exchange that in its first year was plaguedwith problems and protest has a new leader,federal health officials announced Tuesday.

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Kevin Counihan, leader of Connecticut’sexchange, will take the reins of HealthCare.gov in his new role asMarketplace Chief Executive Officer.

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“We are building strong teams with the focus and know-hownecessary to advance our mission and deliver impact for the peoplewe serve,” HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell said in a statement. “Weare committed to instilling ongoing accountability for reachingmilestones, measuring results and ensuring a successful openenrollment period.”

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According to a HHS statement, in his new role, “Counihan will beresponsible and accountable for leading the federal Marketplace,managing relationships with state marketplaces, and running theCenter for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, whichregulates health insurance at the federal level. He willreport to CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner.”

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Connecticut’s state exchange has been one of the most successfulin the nation, succeeding enrollment projections. AccessHealth CT signed up about 79,000 people for coverage throughConnecticut's exchange, while another 120,000 gained Medicaidcoverage. Since 2012, the state’s uninsured rate has been cutnearly in half, from 7.9 percent to 4 percent.

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Burwell created the executive position to HealthCare.gov in Juneas part of an effort to overhaul the troubled site ahead of thesecond enrollment period, which begins Nov.15.

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Burwell also named Lori Lodes, a senior vice president at theCenter for American Progress Action Fund, as the new director ofcommunications for CMS.

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