He may be new on the job, but Hawaii Health Connector CEO Jeffrey M. Kissel isn’t holding back. Speaking exclusively with Employee Benefit Adviser in Washington Tuesday, Kissel, who was appointed CEO in October 2014, says many public health care exchanges largely failed in their initial rollout. At the time, most exchange leaders didn’t understand you cannot flip a switch and expect everything to work on the first try. “It never has; it can’t under the present circumstances,” he says. “Look at all the great technology-based websites. They have introduced more and more features over time; they haven’t gone with the big bang theory. Anybody who has tried that has failed.”

Kissel, who before joining the exchange was CEO of Hawaii Gas, says that besides Kevin Counihan, who was head of Connecticut’s public exchange and is now CEO of Healthcare.gov, few exchange leaders understood that point.

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