Ex-Molina CEO resigns from company's board of directors

J. Mario Molina, M.D., who was fired in May from the health insurance company that his father founded, has now resigned from Molina Healthcare’s board of directors.

In a statement on Twitter, Molina said that even though he’s cutting ties with the insurer’s board, he remains committed to serving those in need.

“The importance of the health safety net, civility and caring for each other with humane compassion has never been greater in our nation than it is today,” he wrote. “I am excited about the opportunities ahead and continuing to advocate for affordable access to quality healthcare for all Americans.”

Molina has been a vocal critic of Republicans’ attempts to roll back the Affordable Care Act since President Donald Trump took office—a position that he previously suggested played a role in his ouster from Molina Healthcare. Recently, he joined former Obama administration officials, celebrities and other advocates in a campaign to raise awareness about ACA open enrollment following the Trump administration’s move to curtail advertising and outreach.

He also has been working on purchasing the assets of 17 of Molina Healthcare’s California-based health clinics, which will be rebranded as Golden Shore Medical Group. Molina told FierceHealthcare that the move gives him an opportunity to fulfill the mission that his father started in the 1980s when he created clinics to serve low-income and underserved populations in the Long Beach area.

The company that the elder Molina created became licensed as a health plan in 1994, then later became a publicly traded company as it grew to serve multiple other states, according to the insurer’s website. It now has approximately 4.5 million members. But Molina Healthcare—which traditionally specialized in Medicaid managed care—struggled financially after entering the ACA exchange business. Indeed, the board cited the company’s “disappointing financial performance” in its decision to fire its CEO and his brother John Molina, who was the CFO.

The insurance company, which has since named Joseph Zubretsky as its new chief executive, reported a $97 million loss in the third quarter and is currently undergoing a restructuring process to regain profitability. In a statement released Wednesday, Dale B. Wolf, chairman of the company’s board of directors, thanked Molina for his lengthy tenure as both CEO and a board member.

“As a natural progression of his involvement in the company for more than 20 years, we understand and respect Dr. Molina’s decision, and we thank him for all of his contributions,” Wolf said.