Saturday, August 2, 2014

ACA/Obamacare: The Ultimate Obamacare Waiver!

“Andrew Slavitt, a former executive at the technology company tasked with “saving” and now second in command at the agency overseeing Obamacare, yesterday ran into sharp questions from a House panel about a potential conflict of interest in his new role.

Rep. Morgan Griffith, R-Va., pressed Slavitt on his previous job at OptumInsight/QSSI and that company’s continuing involvement with

“How are you able to manage your former employer, and doesn’t this create a conflict of interest?” Griffith asked Slavitt during the new Obamacare official’s testimony before the Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigations.

Slavitt, the new principal deputy administrator at Centers for Medicaid and Medicare Services, didn’t go into specifics, but said he had limited contact with his former employer. He assured Griffith and other subcommittee members that he was taking the proper steps to maintain ethical standards and noted that he had signed an ethics pledge.

“As a public servant, I have a very clear set of rules to follow,” Slavitt said.”

“CMS, Slavitt’s new employer, is the federal agency within the Department of Health and Human Services that oversees implementation of the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, including the website

Slavitt joined the Obama administration in June, leaving a job as group vice president at OptumInsight/QSSI to take the No. 2 job at CMS under Administrator Marilyn Tavenner. In 2012, he made the maximum contributions allowed by law to the Obama Victory Fund and Obama for America (now Organizing for Action).”

“Slavitt told lawmakers yesterday that he rid himself of any financial stakes in OptumInsight/QSSI, including stocks and investments.

OptumInsight/QSSI is the sister company of UnitedHealthcare, a health insurance company that offers plans on both the federal and state-run online insurance exchanges. Both companies are subsidiaries of UnitedHealth Group.

QSSI, which had won a contract with CMS to construct Obamacare’s federal data hub, was acquired by OptumInsight in September 2012, weeks before President Obama’s re-election.

The Obamacare agency then brought in the renamed OptumInsight/QSS to “save” after its disastrous rollout in October 2013. The company serves as a “senior adviser” on the project.

Typically, those who leave the private sector for posts in the federal government must wait at least one year before engaging in any work involving the previous employer.

Slavitt, however, received an ethics waiver allowing him to resume work immediately on matters involving his former employer. The waiver, granted July 11 by the Department of Health and Human Services, was made public two weeks ago.

At issue for lawmakers is UnitedHealthcare’s ability to gain competitive advantage over other insurance companies because of data available to its sister company, OptumInsight/QSSI, as a result of its work on and the federal data hub.” - Lawmaker Challenges Top Obamacare Official’s Ties to Contractor,, 08/01/2014


Link to the entire article appears below:


1 comment:

  1. I think the rule is 2 years. Here is some interesting background on Obama's ethics guidelines.

    In his 2009 inauguration speech Obama stated that, "We need to close the revolving door that lets lobbyists come into government freely and lets them use their time in public service as a way to promote their own interests over the interests of the American people when they leave."

    Shortly after taking office in 2009, Obama issued Exec. Order No. 13490. The memo from the Office of Government Ethics (which must be the federal version of the Maytag repairman) says, "Paragraph 2 of the Pledge requires an appointee to commit that he or she will not, for a period of two years following appointment, participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to his or her former employer or former clients, including regulations and contracts."

    The first waiver was issued only two days 2 days after the executive order. On January 9, eleven days before his inaugural speech, Obama appointed former Raytheon lobbyist William Lynn as the new Deputy Secretary of Defense. Mr. Lynn is the poster boy for the revolving door. Before working for Raytheon he was an undersecretary at the DoD under Clinton. At the time of his appointment in 2009 he was senior VP of government operations and strategy at Raytheon.

    A list of the 41 ethics waivers thus far is at

    The full text of the ethics pledge is at