Head of Medicaid to exit

The head of the country’s biggest public insurance program and a champion of healthcare access for the poor will step down next month after five years.

Cindy Mann, the deputy administrator at the Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services (CMS), has earned praise nationwide as a fierce advocate for healthcare access and a key leader in the rollout of ObamaCare. 

Under her leadership, the government made its “biggest improvements to the Medicaid program since its inception,” the agency wrote in a statement Friday announcing her departure.

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Since taking the helm in 2009, Mann has overseen historic expansions of both Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Enrollments in Medicaid and CHIP have jumped 16 percent under ObamaCare. The programs now enroll more than 68 million people.

The agency also touted Mann's relationships with state leaders, a role that has been key as CMS entices Republican governors and legislatures to sign onto important pieces of ObamaCare, such as expanding the eligibility for Medicaid.

Mann has worked with 27 states to help expand Medicaid, and even in states that opted out, she helped grow enrollment by nearly 7 percent.

“She has been an open and trustworthy partner to state leaders on the front lines of administering the programs,” the statement from the CMS reads.

She has also been “a stalwart steward” of taxpayer dollars, the statement adds.

Vikki Wachino, who previously served as the program’s deputy director, will temporarily take over the post.