The Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Marilyn Tavenner plans to resign, effective at the end of February, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Sylvia Mathews Burwell wrote in an email this morning obtained by FierceHealthPayer. Andrew Slavitt, principal deputy administrator, will take on the role of acting administrator.
"It goes without saying that Marilyn will be remembered for her leadership in opening the Health Insurance Marketplace. 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 Healthcare.gov, she helped right the ship, bringing aboard a systems integrator and overseeing an overhaul of the website," Burwell wrote in the email.
She noted that Tavenner is a big reason as to why roughly 10 milllion Americans have gained health coverage since last year--which, as Burwell also pointed out, was the largest increase in four years.
"It is with sadness and mixed emotions that I write to tell you that February will be my last month serving as the Administrator for CMS," Tavenner wrote in an email to CMS colleagues, which was obtained by FierceHealthPayer. "CMS has always been 'the biggest payer of healthcare services in the United States' and that in and of itself is a huge and complex responsibility for any Administrator and his or her team to manage."
Tavenner was a key player during implementation of the Affordable Care Act--not only did she and her staff write many of the rules that went into creating the ACA, but she was also involved with the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov last fall and later apologized to Congress for the site's performance, reported The Wasington Post.
In November, Tavenner and health officials were under fire for mistakenly reporting 400,000 dental-plan enrollees as full health-plan enrollees.
However, there were some highlights during Tavenner's reign. Most notably, Medicaid programs--which are pivotal under the ACA--expanded to 27 states and the District of Columbia, allowing millions of low-income Americans access to health insurance, CNBC reported.
Tavenner's resignation comes nearly nine months after Kathleen Sebelius announced that she was stepping down from her post as HHS Secretary.