McClennan to depart as head of Medicare

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Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) and the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) head Mark McClellan announced plans to leave his post Tuesday. No replacement has thus far been announced.
        
The chief CMS accomplishment during his tenure was the rather troublesome beginnings of a new prescription drug program for Medicare recipients. The plan has had several glitches, and McClennan said that he would stick around in his position long enough to assure that the program is fully and correctly implemented. His official departure is set for October, Reuters reports.
        
"I am going to be around for a significant enough period to ensure that we get this transition done as smoothly as possible," McClellan said in a telephone briefing regarding his plans.
        
"We've found and fixed start-up problems, we are delivering coverage at a cost at least 25 percent less than had been expected, and we are seeing beneficiary satisfaction rates of over 80 percent," McClellan wrote in an e-mail announcement to internal staff regarding his departure, Reuters reports.
        
Many have praised McClellan’s willingness to monitor problems within the program and make adjustments as needed. Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) stated his admiration for McClellan for having "a willingness to go back and fix mistakes so as to make the benefit work for seniors," Reuters reports.
        
Otherwise, CMS is undergoing a considerable transformation and McClellan has stated his belief that now is a good time to depart. His plan is to depart the federal government after having already served as FDA commissioner and as a member of the George W. Bush White House’s Council of Economic Advisers, as well as working at the Treasury Department during the Clinton years.
        
McClennan is considering jobs within several Washington think tanks, as well as assisting his mother, Carole Keeton Strayhorn, in an independent bid for governor of Texas.