Burwell Announces HealthCare.gov Executives

Secretary Burwell announced HealthCare.gov Executives on Friday. She appointed a new CMS second-in-command, as well as created two executive positions, a CEO and CTO for Healthcare.gov.

From July 10, Andrew M. Slavitt, starts as principal deputy administrator for Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. He will serve as second-in-command to Marilyn Tavenner. Slavitt is a former Executive Vice President at Optum, a subsidiary of UnitedHealth, which helped fix state and federal exchanges. The appointment, however, has raised conflict-of-interest concerns. UnitedHealthcare is the largest insurer in the United States with dozens of products on the federal exchange. Sen. Charles Grassley (R-IA) and Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-UT) both sent letters to Tavenner.

The two, new positions are a Chief Executive Officer and Chief Technology Officer for the Federal exchange. The Chief Executive Officer position came at the request of critics and supporters of the Affordable Care Act to make sure there’s “accountability for the works that needs to be done.” Much like the Washington Health Benefit Exchange’s former executive Curt Kwak, the latter position will make sure direct management understands the problems facing Healthcare.gov’s technology challenges and deliver projects to adequate scale.

All three positions come after a Senate Republican report outlined key concerns that led to  Healthcare.gov’s troubled launch. The report, Red Flags: How Politics and Poor Management Led to the Meltdown of HealthCare.gov, blasted everything from early warnings and defect pileup to lack of security best practices.

These developments are worth tracking, leading into open enrollment November 15: Cover Oregon migrates to the exchange, an entirely new UX/UI design replaces the confusing sign-up process, and the ACA enters its second year.