Thursday, Jul. 16, 2009

Nancy-Ann DeParle

White House health czar

She holds a newly created job in the Obama White House, but DeParle is a health-policy veteran. Former head of the Tennessee Department of Human Services, she moved to Washington to work in the Clinton White House; from 1997 to 2000, she headed the vast Health Care Financing Administration — now known as the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services — which administers those two huge programs. Since taking her new job, DeParle has been winning high marks from legislators of both parties in Congress, who say she brings both smarts and political savvy. She has also been instrumental in winning commitments from key industry players like hospitals and drug manufacturers to find ways to hold down their costs voluntarily. Between stints in the government, DeParle held lucrative posts on health-industry boards — a career path that has drawn some scrutiny and criticism.