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Many residents of Kansas City and across the United States rely on Medicare benefits to meet their health care needs, especially senior citizens. Therefore, they may be interested to hear of President Barack Obama’s nominee for head of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services.

The President has nominated Andy Slavitt to head the agency that runs the Medicaid and Medicare programs. Slavitt had previously served as executive vice president for the Optum unit of UnitedHealth Group, Inc. Slavitt has been a government employee since July 2014 and has, in fact, served as the CMS acting administrator since February 2015 after having first served as CMS’s principal deputy administrator. He also played a big role in fixing the Affordable Care Act website in 2013. The Optum division of UnitedHealth was appointed as private manager of the Affordable Care Act website, charged with fixing its bugs.

Slavitt’s nomination must now be approved by the U.S. Senate. Some senators along with groups representing health care workers approve of the nomination, citing Slavitt’s commitment to take on health care reform and health care fraud. Other senators, however, are concerned about the connection between Slavitt’s former employer and CMS.

The purpose of CMS is to oversee the nation’s Medicaid and Medicare programs, which serve the elderly along with the disabled and poor. Over 50 million U.S. citizens receive health care coverage through these programs. Time will tell whether the Senate will approve this nomination. With so many senior citizens in Kansas City utilizing Medicaid planning for their long-term care needs, it is important to stay on top of CMS news.

Source: Tech Times, “Obama Wants Andy Slavitt To Head Medicare And Medicaid,” Rhodi Lee, July 12, 2015