HHS looks to avoid future Healthcare.gov missteps

The Department of Health and Human Services revised its leadership structure on Friday in an effort to stay ahead of the curve for the next open-enrollment period.

With the reputational challenges of Healthcare.gov still fresh in the memories of most Americans, the Department of Health and Human Services revised its leadership structure on Friday in an effort to stay ahead of the curve for the next open-enrollment period.

The new setup includes an operations-focused principal deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services covering agency-wide policy and operational program coordination. The department said it is recruiting a marketplace CEO and CTO, as well.

The agency found its principal deputy administrator in Andy Slavitt, who is making the leap to the federal government after more than two decades in the private sector. Previously group EVP at Optum, Slavitt led "systems integration work and tech surge to fix healthcare.gov," according to the agency.

Open enrollment doesn’t begin again until 2015, but HHS is making a concentrated and visible effort to show US consumers how the Affordable Care Act works for them.

The early failures of Healthcare.gov will, of course, remain a political hot potato for the forseeable future. However, the White House was able to push enrollment past critical thresholds in part by using an unconventional outreach strategy including President Barack Obama’s appearance on Between Two Ferns and celebrity endorsements.

While regular enrollment closed in March, reports surfaced this week showing that many individuals are paying premiums of less than $100 after tax credits for healthcare plans received through Obamacare.

Here’s how news of the newest HHS executives crossed into the Twittersphere on Friday: 

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