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Former Obama Official to Serve as Chief Lobbyist for Health Insurance Industry

Marilyn Tavenner
Marilyn Tavenner / AP
• July 15, 2015 3:24 pm

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Marilyn Tavenner, who headed the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and oversaw the failed Healthcare.gov rollout, has secured the top lobbying job for the health insurance industry.

The New York Times reported that Tavenner, who resigned from her post at CMS in February, will serve as president and chief executive of the trade group America’s Health Insurance Plans, members of which include Aetna, Anthem, Humana, Kaiser Permanente, and other health insurance giants.

Tavenner will assume the position on Aug. 24 when the trade group’s current chief lobbyist, Karen M. Ignagni, steps down after a 22-year career there. Ignagni’s efforts largely helped Obama pass the Affordable Care Act.

"This is a great opportunity. AHIP has a longstanding reputation as focused on consumers and consumer advocacy, and being a leader in the transformation of health care," the 64-year-old Tavenner said of her new gig.

The former Obama official said she will not be lobbying CMS or other branches of the Department of Health and Human Services during the current administration due to federal conflict-of-interest laws but insisted she can lobby Congress.

Having supervised the disastrous beginning of the online Obamacare exchange Healthcare.gov, Tavenner described the rollout Wednesday as "far from ideal" yet championed the website as an eventual accomplishment.

"I spent a month pulling a team together and creating a turnaround," she alleged. "The management challenges seemed insurmountable, but I am proud of what we accomplished."

Published under: Medicaid, Medicare, Obamacare