Health insurance trade group AHIP picks former Medicare boss Tavenner as next leader

A former top Medicare administrator is now running the main health insurance lobby in Washington, D.C.

America's Health Insurance Plans said Wednesday that its board unanimously picked Marilyn Tavenner to become its next president and CEO.

America's Health Insurance Plans is a trade association that counts 215 insurers as members and has acted as a key lobbyist for the industry on issues like the health care overhaul, the federal law that has expanded health insurance coverage to millions of uninsured people.

Tavenner resigned earlier this year as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which runs health insurance programs that cover roughly 1 in 3 Americans. She played a big role in the overhaul's coverage expansion, which started in the fall of 2013 and was marred by technology problems that initially bogged down a federal website people use to sign up for insurance.

Tavenner joined the Department of Health and Human Services shortly before the passage of the overhaul, known as the Affordable Care Act, in 2010. Prior to that, she had served as Virginia's health secretary under former Democratic Gov. Tim Kaine and was a top executive with the nation's biggest hospital chain, HCA Holdings Inc.

AHIP Chairman Mark Ganz said in a statement Wednesday that Tavenner is a "recognized leader who brings the experience, tenacity, and dedication to achieve our advocacy goals and to move the health system forward in a way that is patient-centered."