The White House is coming under pressure from some of its closest allies on health care reform to name a chief executive to run its federal health insurance marketplace and allay the concerns of insurers after the rocky rollout of Obamacare.
Advocates have been quietly pushing the idea of a CEO who would set marketplace rules, coordinate with insurers and state regulators on the health plans offered for sale, supervise enrollment campaigns and oversee technology, according to several sources familiar with discussions between advocates and the Obama administration.
Supporters of the idea say it could help regain the trust of insurers and others whose confidence in the health care overhaul has been shaken by the technological woes that crippled the federal HealthCare.gov insurance shopping website and the flurry of sometimes-confusing administration rule changes that followed.
The advocates include former White House adviser Ezekiel Emanuel, the brother of President Barack Obama's former chief of staff Rahm Emanuel, and the Center for American Progress, the Washington think tank founded by John Podesta, the president's newly appointed senior counselor.
The White House is not embracing the idea of creating a CEO, administration officials said.
"This isn't happening. It's not being considered," a senior administration official told Reuters.
Some health care reform allies say the complexity of the federal marketplace requires a CEO-type figure with clear authority and knowledge of how insurance markets work.