Obamacare

Obamacare Goes to Its Caretakers: Another Top Health Official Steps Down

Marilyn Tavenner, one of the key officials behind Obamacare's botched federal exchange, is leaving her post.

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C-SPAN

Marilyn Tavenner, the current administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and a key player in the implementation of Obamacare since she took a job with the administration in 2010, will step down, according to a report by Jonathan Cohn and Jeffrey Young in The Huffington Post. 

Tavenner had bipartisan support when she took the job—she was confirmed into her current position in 2013—and she's never been as controversial a figure as Kathleen Sebelius, who oversaw the Department of Health and Human Services during much of the Obamacare implementation process.

But Tavenner's tenure at CMS has been rocky, marked by high-profile failures and errors. 

She played a major role in the 2013 rollout of Obamacare, overseeing the agency that managed the creation of the botched federal exchange. As Cohn and Young note, reports strongly suggest that poor management from CMS contributed significantly to the launch-window failures of the system. Tavenner herself later apologized for the problems with the federal government's online enrollment system.

More recently, Tavenner misreported Obamacare enrollment in September 2014 testimony to Congress, inflating the figure by 400,000 by including dental plans that should not have been part of the count. After the error was discovered, Sylvia Matthews Burwell, who took over for Sebelius at HHS last year, said that the administration would work to ensure "this kind of mistake does not occur again after we understand why it happened."

Andy Slavitt, the second in command at CMS, will take over for Tavenner on an acting basis. 

Tavenner's departure is the latest in a string of departures by senior officials who played key roles in implementing the health law. Sebelius left HHS last year, and Nancy-Ann DeParle, a White House staffer who ran the Office of Health Reform, left in 2013. In addition, 28 of the Senators who voted for Obamacare are now gone, having either left office or lost elections. 

Obamacare, then, is increasingly out of the hands of its founders and is now being managed by a second generation of caretakers—a recognition, in some sense, that the people who first put the law in place struggled to make it work. 

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  1. I can’t figure out if Tavenner is the Pete Carroll or the Lane Kiffin of Obamacare.

    1. Pete Carroll at USC – getting out of there right before SHTF.

  2. Tavenner’s departure is the latest in a string of departures by senior officials who played key roles in implementing the health law.

    Yeah, I’d be curious exactly what role top-level officials played. Someone audit their day-to-day functions and let me know what you find out.

    1. I’d bem curious exactly what role top-level officials played

      I mean from where I sit in the bureaucracy, they don’t serve any actual function.

  3. http://www.newrepublic.com/art…..chris-kyle

    New Republic attempts to review American Sniper without having actually seen the movie and based entirely on the trailer.

    “I have not seen American Sniper. But if the trailer is any indication, Eastwood’s film, like Zero Dark Thirty, tries to make a straightforward situation more complex than it is.”

    Bonus points for talking about what a bad idea the Iraq War was when TNR supported it at the time:

    “That kind of thinking, compared to Kyle’s portrayal by Eastwood, prompted Lindy West to write an article for The Guardian asking, “The real American Sniper was a hate-filled killer. Why are simplistic patriots treating him as a hero?” One answer to that question: Because many Americans are unable to accept that nothing was won in Iraq, and that the sacrifices Kyle and others made were not worth it. More fundamentally, treating Kyle as a patriot and ignoring any other possibility allows Americans to ignore the consequences of invading a country that had no weapons of mass destruction, had nothing to do with 9/11, and had no meaningful ties to Al Qaeda (our invasion, of course, changed that).”

    1. Ha.

      “A recent study estimates there were 461,000 war-related “excess” deaths in Iraq between 2003 and mid-2011. If true, President George W. Bush may be responsible for the deaths of more Iraqi civilians than Saddam Hussein was. But Bush is not solely culpable. We live in a democracy where the people elect the government, and therefore citizens cannot escape the blame for what it does. In that sense, it is not just Kyle who pulled the trigger. We all did.”

      Go fuck yourself. I didn’t vote for GWB, I opposed the intervention in Libya and the War in Iraq. Don’t put your collective guilt on me.

      1. I can’t be bothered to read that. But was there any mention of president teleprompter’s actions in the mid-east?

      2. President George W. Bush may be responsible for the deaths of more Iraqi civilians than Saddam Hussein was.

        By this reasoning, isn’t FDR responsible for the Holocaust?

        I mean, since the American President is apparently responsible for all deaths in any war they might be involved in.

  4. Heck of a job, Tavvy!

  5. Is it just me, or is every single female bureaucrat that we see at a hearing absurdly hideous and bitchy looking?

    1. They’re just the most likely to do something that gets them landed in front of a hearing panel. You can usually tell management and personality types of bureaurcrats within a few minutes of observation at their job.

    2. Perhaps it’s because hideous bitches seek positions of power.

      1. This makes a lot of sense. I’m really glad I don’t work for the government.

        1. I’m really glad I don’t work for the government.

          Man, I wish I didn’t. I don’t get a paycheck from the fuckers, but I work for them until about mid-June of every year.

      2. ^This (Sarc).

        Good looks will only get you so far. But you have to be a bitch/asshole to get to the level of a Tavvener or Lerner.

        Just as radio personalities are notoriously unattractive – if they were better looking they’d do television.

        1. “He has a face for radio!”

          – old expression oft heard around Chicago media market

          1. and a voice for newsprint.

  6. …”the administration would work to ensure “this kind of mistake does not occur again after we understand why it happened.””

    Why is happened isn’t hard to figure.

  7. Oh God. They (We!) are losing the healthcare A-Team.
    You thought it was bad before.
    We’re all going to die.

  8. Andy Slavitt, the second in command at CMS, will take over for Tavenner on an acting basis.

    “I’m sorry, Congressman. That was done before I was on board. I simply don’t know.”

  9. said that the administration would work to ensure “this kind of mistake does not occur again after we understand why it happened.”

    Translation: “We are going to diligently work to ensure that the public learning that we cooked the books does not occur again.”

  10. RICO, RICO, RICO.

    #UPMCrecycles

    independent.academia.edu/OchoaMichael

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