UPDATES with new employer: Steve Larsen, director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), and Deputy Administrator at the U.S. Department of Health and Humand Services (HHS), submitted his letter of resignation Friday to Marilyn Tavenner, acting administrator of CMS, a week or two before the Supreme Court decision on health care reform is expected. He will be leaving in July.
Larsen had been an instrumental part of the senior leadership team implementing the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act, (PPACA.)
The CCIIO is charged with helping implement many provisions of the PPACA, the historic health reform bill that was signed into law March 23, 2010.
The CCIIO oversees the implementation of the provisions related to private health insurance.
In consultation with Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, CMS has asked Mike Hash, director of the Office of Health Reform, to serve as interim director of CCIIO.
In a letter of resignation obtained by LifeHealthpro, Larsen wrote that “After more than two years at HHS I have made the difficult decision to leave my role at CCIIO and return to the private sector. It has been an extraordinary experience to work here at this moment and it has been a particular privilege to do so with all of you. I am proud of all that we have done together to implement the Affordable Care Act and help millions of Americans get access to better and more affordable health care.”
“I have been fortunate from my first day on the job to be part of this historic effort and to do so with all of you has been all the more rewarding. We have great leaders in Secretary Sebelius, Bill Corr, Marilyn Tavenner, Mike Hash and so many others across the entire CMS and HHS team and I leave knowing you are in good hands to accomplish all that is ahead…,” Larsen wrote June 15.
The PPACA Act of 2010 requires state and federal agencies to set up the exchanges by 2014. The exchanges are supposed to help individuals and small employers use new tax credit programs created by PPACA to buy health coverage.
In a letter to staff today, Tavenner wrote about Larsen and his work: “Together we have leveraged CMS’ strengths as we took on these new responsibilities and I am proud of our efforts to hold insurance companies accountable to consumers and our work with states and others to build a new insurance marketplace. His efforts helped to lay the foundation for our continued success and have put us on a path to make sure that these new marketplaces are available to consumers in every state in 2014.”
Larsen said in early March tha, obviously pending Supreme Court approval of the PPACA law, “every single state will have an exchange in operation as of Jan. 2014, and they will be similar.”
He said the agency has issued contracts for site development for the federal exchanges, as well as creating the data services “hub” that will be crucial as the single point of entry for federal exchanges.
“We are deep in development of the exchanges; there is tons of work going on,” Larsen said.
Larsen made his comments as the opening speaker at the 2012 National Policy Forum of America’s Health Insurance Plans, being held today and Wednesday in Washington.
Less than a year ago Joel Ario, then director of the Office of Insurance Exchanges at CMS decided to leave his post, after about a year on the job.
Both Ario and Larsen have been state insurance regulators in previous lives, Larsen in Maryland and Ario in Pennsylvania and Oregon.