Acting Obamacare head named to run agency

Andy Slavitt, the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which oversees the Obamacare healthcare program, has been nominated as head of the agency, the White House said on Thursday.

Slavitt, who joined CMS last year to oversee the once-troubled HealthCare.gov website, has been acting administrator since March following the resignation of Marilyn Tavenner as head of the agency that also manages the Medicare and Medicaid government healthcare programs.

He was previously an executive at a government contractor working on the HealthCare.gov site and a leader of the rescue team that turned it around after a botched rollout.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell said Slavitt's nomination would receive "thorough consideration" in the Republican-led chamber.

But McConnell added: "It has long been clear that no one can successfully manage a law as unworkable as Obamacare. The sole focus of CMS should be to look out for our nation's seniors and the many vulnerable Americans who use these programs, without the distraction of Obamacare."

Families USA, a consumer health group that supports Obamacare, welcomed the nomination, saying in a statement that Slavitt "played a remarkably successful role in overseeing the second open enrollment period under the Affordable Care Act and played a heroic role in the successful re-launch of HealthCare.gov."

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association, a federation of health insurers, said Slavitt "has demonstrated the strong leadership skills necessary to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services."