The acting head of the Center for Medicaid and Medicare Services has attracted the attention of two powerful senators, who are now demanding answers about whether Andy Slavitt has been compromised by personally accepting millions of dollars from the health industry.
In a letter issued Tuesday by Senators Orin Hatch and Chuck Grassley to Health and Human Services Secretary Sylvia Matthews Burwell, the lawmakers wrote that they are concerned “specifically with regard to the risk of conflicts of interest between the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services and UnitedHealth Group, its subsidies and its employees.”
The letter was first obtained by The Daily Caller.
As exclusively reported by TheDC earlier this week, when Slavitt joined CMS last year, the Obama administration quietly permitted him to redeem $4.8 million in health company stock without paying capital gains taxes. About half of the equities were in United Health Group stock where for 11 years Slavitt served as an executive in Optum, a UHG subsidiary.
United Health Group and its subsidiaries are deeply involved in Obamacare. Operationally, an Optum subsidiary called QSSI runs the troubled Obamacare website, Healthcare.gov.
The two senators were especially concerned about what they called “unresolved conflicts of interest” between the QSSI contract and Slavitt’s role as “one of the primary executives involved in fixing Healthcare.gov after its failed launch in October 2013.”
Optum also runs Obamacare health exchanges in five states while its parent, United Health Group, sells health-care insurance to millions of Obamacare customers in 12 states.
United Health Group reported that in 2013 it earned $30 billion in revenues just from Medicare and Medicaid, which Slavitt oversees.