Obama Nominates Former UnitedHealth Exec Slavitt to Run Medicare and Medicaid

WASHINGTON – President Obama has nominated former UnitedHealth Group executive Andy Slavitt to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

Slavitt, whose nomination is subject to Senate approval, has been working as acting administrator of the government health insurance ­programs since February.

He came to the national stage in 2013 while helping fix the balky federal health insurance website that was the centerpiece of the ­Affordable Care Act’s rollout.

At the time, Slavitt worked for UnitedHealth’s Optum division, which contributed to the website.

He testified at contentious hearings on ­Capitol Hill as opponents of the new health care law attacked the multiple failures of the website. But Optum’s piece of the website worked well enough to deflect most congressional criticism and to attract the attention of the White House.

The Obama administration eventually named Optum the private manager of the website charged with working out its many kinks.

Slavitt led that effort well enough to earn a post as principal deputy administrator of CMS in July 2014. Seven months later, he was named acting administrator.

Sen. Amy Klobuchar, D-Minn., welcomed Slavitt’s nomination.

“With decades of experience delivering health care services to millions of Americans, Andy has developed a track record as an effective and innovative leader who gets results,” Klobuchar said in a statement.

“As acting administrator at CMS, Andy has played a crucial role in leading efforts to combat health care fraud, reform health care delivery, and improve health outcomes. That experience makes him the perfect person to lead this critical agency,” she said.

Slavitt came to Minnetonka-based UnitedHealth Group, the nation’s largest insurer, in 2003, after UnitedHealth acquired Health Allies, which Slavitt founded and ran. Slavitt also has worked as a consultant with McKinsey & Co. and as an investment banker with Goldman Sachs.