Former CMS Chief to Become Chief Insurance Industry Lobbyist

The former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will now lead the trade group for the nation's private insurers.

The former administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services will now lead the trade group for the nation’s private insurers.

Marilyn Tavenner, who announced her resignation from CMS in January, has been hired as president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans.

“I am honored to join this association and to lead this industry that is deeply committed to improving care delivery and affordability for individuals and families,” Tavenner said, in an AHIP press release.

As CMS chief, Tavenner oversaw government programs that provide insurance coverage to nearly one in three Americans. She also became one of the faces of the Affordable Care Act as she helped implement the law and oversaw the problem-plagued rollout of the federal health exchange website, Healthcare.gov. Though that role brought her much criticism, AHIP Board Chair Mark Ganz said she commands great respect in Washington, DC.

“She has the respect and trust of policymakers and stakeholders from all sides and a personal commitment to advance meaningful solutions for improving access to quality affordable care for all Americans,” he said, in the press release.

Tavenner will start her new position next month, but she won’t be able to lobby CMS, due to ethical restrictions barring former administration officials from lobbying their former agencies.

Meanwhile, President Obama last week moved to fill Tavenner’s old position. He nominated Andy Slavitt, the principal deputy administrator of CMS, to be the next CMS administrator. Slavitt has served as interim administrator since March. He joined the agency in 2014. Prior to that, he worked for Optum, a technology firm and subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group. At Optum, Slavitt helped fix Healthcare.gov under a federal contract.