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Policy & Regulation News

CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner Steps Down

By Ryan Mcaskill

In an email to staff, Tavenner announced that February 2015 will be her last month as head of CMS.

- There is a major shakeup happening at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) as it has been revealed that CMS administrator Marilyn Tavenner has resigned. Multiple news outlets are reporting that the news was broken to staff members in an email earlier in the day. As of right now, there is no word as to why she is stepping down, but it will allegedly happen next month.

“February will be my last month serving as the administrator for CMS,” Tavenner said in the email.

Tavenner, 63, became the acting administrator at the end of 2011 following the resignation of Donald Berwick. She stayed in the interim role until being officially confirmed in May 2013. Since being in the position, she has been at the forefront of President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform, for better or worse.

CMS is the federal agency within the United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) that administrators the Medicare program and works in tandem with states to oversee Medicaid, Children’s Health Insurance Program  and health insurance portability standards.

During her time, CMS wrote many of the rules putting the Affordable Care Act in place and oversees the new health insurance exchanges created by the ACA. She has been at the center of a few negative incidents, most noticiably around the rollout of that was widely considered to be disaster and even went as far as apologizing to Congress for the failure of the launch. Most recently, there were problems during enrollment when CMS mistakenly inflated the ACA enrollment numbers by 400,000.

Despite this, there was no indication that Tavenner was going to step down. HHS Secretary Sylvia Burwell accepted Tavenner’s resignation and released a statement about it.

“It goes without saying that Marilyn will be remembered for her leadership in opening the health insurance marketplace,” Burwell said. “In so doing, she worked day and night so that millions of Americans could finally obtain the security and peace of mind of quality health insurance at a price they could afford. It’s a measure of her tenacity and dedication that after the tough initial rollout of, she helped right the ship.”

When she officially leaves her position, Andrew Slavitt, the No. 2 official at CMS, is expected to become fill in the role. He has been with the administration since last summer, after being brought in to help turnaround and other state exchange Web sites.



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