By Elise Viebeck - 06/20/14 12:19 PM EDT
The Obama administration will appoint a chief executive officer for ObamaCare's federally facilitated marketplace as part of a wider management overhaul for the law's second enrollment period.
The decision is the first major action by Sylvia BurwellSylvia Mathews BurwellHHS launches contest to make bills simpler Obama administration takes step to reform Medicare payments Rubio breaks with GOP, backs Obama Zika request MORE as head of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and a sign that she will take cues from the private sector in her approach to leadership.
The move comes two weeks after Burwell took the reins from Kathleen SebeliusKathleen SebeliusFighting for assisted living facilities The chaotic fight for ObamaCare California exchange CEO: Insurers ‘throwing ObamaCare under the bus’ MORE, the former HHS secretary whose management skills were widely disparaged in connection with the botched rollout of HealthCare.gov.
The fact that Sebelius waited more than six months after the site's failed launch to announce her resignation brought criticism that the administration was not interested in holding leaders accountable for their failures.
In a possible nod to critics, Burwell emphasized accountability on Friday as her motivation in restructuring the management of ObamaCare.
"These actions will bolster our team and further instill ongoing accountability for reaching milestones, measuring results and delivering results for the American people," Burwell said in a statement.
The leadership overhaul borrows ideas from administration allies at the Center for American Progress (CAP), an influential liberal think tank that suggested creating an ObamaCare CEO as part of a report in May.
Burwell is also creating a new chief technology officer position for the federal marketplace who is expected to oversee the ongoing efforts to build and make repairs at HealthCare.gov.
The decisions are not surprising, given Burwell's reputation as a bold manager. Republican lawmakers supported her nomination, citing her experience in the private sector as a top official with the Gates and Wal-Mart Foundation.
The announcement came with one more management change: the appointment of an executive from the private sector to help coordinate operations for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
The official, Andy Slavitt, is well-known at CMS for his work shoring up HealthCare.gov last fall. He comes to the agency from Optum, a technology subsidiary of UnitedHealth Group that contracted with the government to build parts of the federal exchange.
“Andy’s breadth of experience throughout the healthcare sector makes him the right person for this role," said CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner in a statement.
"He will focus on managing day-to-day operational issues across all of our programs and be a key part of our leadership team."
Slavitt's decision to join CMS was the only personnel announcement made on Friday. The agency provided few details about its effort to recruit individuals for the new CEO and CTO roles with the federal marketplace.
Those officials, when they arrive, will immediately come under pressure to make sure that HealthCare.gov is ready for its next enrollment period.
Open season for the exchanges begins Nov. 15 and end Feb. 15, 2015, making it three months shorter than ObamaCare's first sign-up period.
The administration is riding a wave of good news for the healthcare law after achieving more than 8 million sign-ups on the exchanges and 6 million through Medicaid.
The unexpectedly positive results, which decreased the U.S. uninsured rate and blunted criticism from Republicans, followed months of turmoil for the White House as it struggled to repair HealthCare.gov.
— This story was updated at 1:21 p.m.