Former CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner tapped to lead AHIP: 6 things to know

Marilyn Tavenner, the former federal official in charge of the rollout of HealthCare.gov, was chosen Wednesday to be president and CEO of America's Health Insurance Plans.

Here are six things to know about Ms. Tavenner's appointment.

1. In her new position, Ms. Tavenner, who resigned from her post as CMS administrator in February, will lead the trade group whose members include Aetna, Anthem, Humana, Kaiser Permanente and many Blue Cross and Blue Shield companies.

2. On Aug. 24, Ms. Tavenner will succeed Karen M. Ignagni, a former health policy specialist at the AFL-CIO, who has led the industry's lobbying arm for more than two decades, according to The New York Times.

3. As the leader of AHIP, Ms. Tavenner said in a New York Times report that she wanted to protect Medicare Advantage, the program under which private insurers manage care for more than 30 percent of the 55 million Medicare beneficiaries, and keep down the rising cost of new prescription drugs.

4. AHIP Board Chairman Mark Ganz spoke highly of Ms. Tavenner. "There is no better individual than Marilyn to lead our industry through the increasingly complex healthcare transformation that is underway," he said in a statement. "As the unifying voice for our industry, AHIP and its members are uniquely positioned to address the pressing healthcare challenges facing consumers, and Marilyn is a recognized leader who brings the experience, tenacity and dedication to achieve our advocacy goals and to move the health system forward in a way that is patient-centered. She has the respect and trust of policymakers and stakeholders from all sides, and a personal commitment to advance meaningful solutions for improving access to quality, affordable care for all Americans."

5. Due to federal conflict-of-interest rules, she said she would not lobby for CMS or other parts of HHS in the remaining months of President Barack Obama's administration, according to The New York Times. However, she said she could lobby Congress.

6. Ms. Tavenner has served in a number of leadership roles. She was with CMS for five years, serving as administrator from May 2013 to February 2015. Before joining CMS, she was secretary of health and human resources of the Commonwealth of Virginia. She also has held a number of leadership roles with Nashville, Tenn.-based HCA, where she was president of HCA's Central Atlantic Division as well as group president of outpatient services. Earlier this year, she was appointed to the board of directors of Brentwood, Tenn.-based LifePoint Health.

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