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Former CMS head to lead AHIP

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America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) has brought in Marilyn Tavenner, one of the ultimate health policy insiders to be its new president.

Tavenner, a nurse, is succeeding Karen Ignagni as the lead of the insurers’ trade group, the AHIP board announced today. Ignagni left AHIP in May to lead EmblemHealth, a struggling health insurer in New York state.

Daniel Durham, a former pharmaceutical industry policy shaper, has been AHIP’s acting CEO.

Tavenner previously was the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS), the arm of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) in charge of implementing the provisions in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) that affect Medicare, Medicaid and the commercial health insurance market. 

See also: Marilyn Tavenner to leave CMS post

Tavenner, for example, oversaw the team that set up the public exchange enrollment system and the PPACA “three R’s” risk-management programs. Tavenner also oversaw many wide-reaching CMS programs and regulatory efforts, including the Medicaid nursing home benefits program and Medicare skilled nursing facility programs.

See also: Feds post PPACA lifeboat program numbers

The Obama administration announced Tavenner’s departure from the CMS post in January.

AHIP Chair Mark Ganz said in a statement that Tavenner is a recognized health policy leader. “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,” Ganz said.

Tavenner said in a statement of her own that she is “honored to lead an industry that is deeply committed to improving care delivery and affordability for individuals and families.”

Tavenner has roots in the hospital industry. She ran hospitals in Virginia for Hospital Corporation of America (NYSE:HCA). While running hospitals, she served as president of the Virginia Hospital Association and as a board member of the American Hospital Association.

She later served as Virginia’s health and human services secretary.

She began working at CMS as a principal deputy administrator in February 2010. Obama nominated her to head CMS in November 2011.

See also: Obama Taps Tavenner to Head CMS


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