Tuesday, April 6, 2010

Marilyn Tavenner #2 at Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services


The Center for Medicare/Medicaid Services will soon have a new Chief, Dr. Donald Berwick. Dr. Berwick's Principal Deputy Administrator is Marilyn Tavenner, the former Virginia Secretary of Health and Human Resources and HCA Group President.

Dr. Berwick and Ms. Tavenner have the largest implementation job since Tom Scully designed and implemented Medicare Part D, the prescription drug benefit. White House Health Czar Nancy-Ann DeParle crafted much of the passed health reform legislation.

Tom and Nancy-Ann have more in common than designing major reform. Neither testified before Congress on their foundational beliefs or actions in staking out new coverage territory. Both negotiated back room deals.

Tom Scully refused to testify on his orders to Medicare actuary Richard Foster. Rep. Bill Thomas (R-CA) watched Scully's back, before Tom left government service for a lobbying position at Alston & Bird and a Senior Advisor slot at private equity underwriter (PEU) Welsh, Carson, Anderson & Stowe. Ironically, Nancy-Ann was a PEU for CCMP Capital Advisers prior to her elevation to czar.

Medicare actuary Richard Foster's name arose in DeParle's reform with his prediction that 17 million Americans would lose employer coverage. Shifting the burden of health insurance to the individual and a tapped out Uncle Sam is clearly the behind the scenes plan. Few Red or Blue politicians were willing to state the obvious.

Marilyn Tavenner refused to share a privately funded health reform study in her Virginia role. She used the study as an "internal working document" to reform Virginia's publicly provided health services.

What internal documents await or are on order? Will the public hear her testify? So much precedence and so little public accountability.

Update 11-23-11:  Tavenner will replace Dr. Don Berwick as CMMS Chief.