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Medicare, Medicaid leader Marilyn Tavenner resigns

Notifies her staff by email she is leaving as leader of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Marilyn Tavenner, head of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid ServicesJan. 19, 2015 – Marilyn Tavenner, head of the U.S. Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, plans to step down at the end of February, she told her staff in an e-mail, according to Bloomberg News.

Officials in President Barack Obama’s administration confirmed the resignation to The Huffington Post. They also said Andrew Slavitt, the agency’s second-ranking official, will take over in an acting capacity.

In November, Bloomberg reported Tavenner acknowledged that her agency had made a mistake in its calculation of the number of people enrolled under Obamacare. About 393,000 individuals with both health and dental coverage were “inadvertently counted twice,” she said in a letter to Representative Darrell Issa, a California Republican whose committee discovered the error.

 

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Robert Pear of The New York Times notes, “She was a senior official at the Medicare agency, which insures one in three Americans and has an annual budget of more than $800 billion, before she was confirmed by the Senate in May 2013 as administrator. Sylvia Mathews Burwell, the secretary of health and human services, accepted the resignation in a statement filled with praise for Ms. Tavenner.”

Senate Finance Committee Ranking Member, Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore., released the following statement regarding Tavenner’s announcement:

“Marilyn Tavenner has worked tirelessly and effectively to improve health care for millions of Americans as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services at a time when the job was more difficult, complex and politicized than ever before.

“Most Americans do not know Ms. Tavenner or the job she is leaving after five challenging years. But more than 100 million Americans who are enrolled in Medicare and Medicaid, and countless others who have a family member or friend in these programs, benefit from her dedication, her steady hand and her stewardship of these touchstone programs.

“Ms. Tavenner has left an imprint in other ways too. One of the most significant came in 2014 when the number of uninsured Americans fell to its lowest rate since Gallup began tracking the statistic in 2008.

“Her contributions to health care policy improved the way health care is provided in every corner of this country. All of us should thank her for that service and wish her well.”

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