Andy Slavitt, the former Optum executive who led a high-profile rescue of the federal government's HealthCare.gov website in 2013, has signed on with a bipartisan think tank in Washington D.C.
Slavitt, who was acting administrator at the massive Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) during the closing years of the Obama administration, is now a senior advisor with the Bipartisan Policy Center.
Since leaving the administration, Slavitt has become an even more outspoken defender of the Affordable Care Act (ACA), which he was responsible for implementing at CMS.
In addition to adding Slavitt, the think tank will bring on Avik Roy, a past policy advisor to Republican presidential candidates who has called for health care changes that transcend Obamacare -- the shorthand label often applied to the ACA.
They'll both work on how to reform the health law, said Jordan LaPier, press secretary for the Bipartisan Policy Center.
“We’re a nonprofit think tank devoted to bringing people together from both sides of the political spectrum, to negotiate and compromise and bring forth solutions that are actionable,” LaPier said.
In an interview, Slavitt said the Bipartisan Policy Center was founded about 10 years ago by prominent Republicans and Democrats. The ACA has coincided with a period of extreme partisanship, but Slavitt said he hopes the country can move health policy debates beyond the political food fight.
"Health care is not going to work well if it's cast in a purely political framework," Slavitt said. "I'm hopeful that, at some point in time, the country is going to decided we’re better off with something that’s owned by everybody."
While at UnitedHealth Group's Optum division, Slavitt ran the division that orchestrated a quick fix to the HealthCare.gov website that serves as the health insurance exchange in most states. The exchange was launched in last 2013 as part of the health law, but it stumbled badly out of the gate due to technical troubles.
Slavitt and his family moved to the Twin Cities in 2004 after Minnetonka-based United acquired his start-up company. He went on to work in Optum's business focused on data and analytics, and launched in 2013 a high-profile research collaboration between Optum and the Mayo Clinic.