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New state Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman's top appointments indicate a change of attitude toward health insurance exchanges from the previous administration. Also, Deputy Commish Manny Munson-Regala will leave the agency effective Friday.

Commerce Dept hires senior staff

Bill Klotz)

Mike Rothman (Staff Photo: Bill Klotz)

New state Commerce Commissioner Mike Rothman’s top appointments suggest a change of attitude toward health insurance exchanges from the previous administration.

Former Gov. Tim Pawlenty made headlines last year when he chose not to pursue federal funding to help plan for the insurance exchanges that are part of federal health care reform.

Rothman, who was chosen by new Gov. Mark Dayton to lead Commerce, has appointed a top level staffer as point person on health insurance exchanges. April Todd-Malmov is joining Commerce on a shared-service agreement with the state Department of Health. She will continue in her capacity as state health economist while serving as health insurance exchange director.

“April’s extensive knowledge of state and federal health care policy will be invaluable as we plan and implement the insurance exchange provisions of the Affordable Care Act,” Rothman said.

Rothman has also appointed longtime Dorsey & Whitney lawyer Steve Carlson as deputy commissioner of administration. Carlson, who has chaired Minneapolis-based Dorsey’s Banking and Commercial Department, will handle Commerce’s administrative functions as well as unclaimed property, weights and measures and Petrofund units.

Among the senior ranks at Commerce, Kevin Murphy will continue to be deputy commissioner for financial institutions. Also remaining at the agency is Jaki Gardner, who has long served as assistant commissioner for insurance.

Manny Munson-Regala, who has been deputy commissioner for market assurance since the Pawlenty administration, will leave Commerce effective Friday, according to a Commerce spokesperson.

John Reich recently became Commerce’s legislative liaison. Reich comes from the state House where he was an aide to former Commerce and Labor Committee Chairman Joe Atkins.

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