Obama hears call for healthcare reform CEO

The Obama administration should shake up the U.S. Department of Health & Human Services by removing health insurance exchanges from its purview. Instead, a CEO with private sector experience would oversee the online marketplaces, according to a report from the Center for American Progress.

The report's authors, including former White House advisor Ezekiel Emanuel, said the CEO would assume complete oversight of both federal and state exchanges as well as insurers and market regulations. Answering only to President Barack Obama and the HHS secretary, the chief executive needs a background in healthcare and the private sector.

Although the idea was considered last year during the botched rollout of the exchanges, the CAP believes current circumstances, including a new incoming HHS secretary, present the perfect opportunity to shift around exchange oversight.

The report added that the Obama administration should tap a CEO soon so that changes, such as completing automation of the back-end system that provides necessary functions for insurers, can take effect before the next open enrollment period begins in November.

"An absolutely essential element of achieving these goals is having the exchange run by a CEO who is both given the resources and made accountable for the exchange's performance," Emanuel, who teaches at the University of Pennsylvania, told Reuters.

Meanwhile, Obama appointed Kristie Canegallo, a White House aide, as deputy chief of staff for policy implementation. She's in charge of overseeing continued ACA implementation and applying some changes Obama's chief of staff made during the launch of exchanges, The Washington Post reported.

To learn more:
- here's the report (.pdf)
- read the Reuters article
- see The Washington Post article