The revolving door in Washington keeps spinning. The irony of this revolution is particularly delicious. Recently, Karen Ignani, longtime Chief of America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP) stepped down. You may recall that Ignani was instrumental in rounding up support for Obamacare, and perhaps most significantly, persuaded then-candidate Obama to reverse his position and support an individual mandate. Why wouldn’t health insurance companies want a federal mandate to buy their products! So who will replace her?
None other than Marilyn B. Tavenner. Remember her? She was the top official involved in the rollout of HealthCare.gov. Yes, the person who is largely responsible for the biggest colossal flop in the ACA’s history was hired as the top lobbyist for the health insurance industry! Unbelievable.
NYT reports, charitably:
Ms. Tavenner led federal efforts to carry out the Affordable Care Act, and she was stunned in October 2013 when HealthCare.gov crashed during its initial introduction, frustrating millions of consumers who were trying to buy insurance online.
In the ensuing months, she helped fix the website, after the White House deployed a management expert to supervise the operation, with the assistance of technology experts recruited from Silicon Valley.
“The rollout was far from ideal,” Ms. Tavenner said on Wednesday. “But I spent a month pulling a team together and creating a turnaround. The management challenges seemed insurmountable, but I am proud of what we accomplished.” Millions of people eventually gained insurance, she said.
Perhaps the most delicious irony, is that she was hired to lobby Congress.
She said that, because of federal conflict-of-interest rules, she would not lobby the agency or other parts of the Department of Health and Human Services in the remaining months of the Obama administration. But she said she was free to lobby Congress.
I can’t how many hearings before Congress where Tavenner looked like an absolute fool, totally unable to answer any questions about why HealthCare.gov was such a abysmal failure.
Glenn Reynold’s revolving door tax sounds like a great idea now.