White House Senior Advisor for COVID-19 Response
Health Care Entrepreneur
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Andy Slavitt, a health care entrepreneur, nonprofit executive, and former Obama administration staffer, is the man behind much of the White House’s COVID-19 vaccine messaging—and a Twitter page boasting more than 650,000 followers.
As a White House senior adviser for COVID-19 response, Slavitt crafts the administration’s vaccine outreach, makes media appearances to encourage Americans to take the vaccine, and advises states on their reopening plans and vaccine-rollout protocol.
Slavitt entered the government arena during the Obama administration, working at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to mend the botched rollout of Healthcare.gov. A proponent of expanding access and affordability of care, Slavitt transitioned to the private sphere after his White House stint, founding a nonprofit focused on securing universal access to affordable health care.
Slavitt has been active over the course of the pandemic, cofounding a project to connect health care providers with access to personal protective equipment and producing a podcast about the state of the pandemic, In the Bubble: From the Frontlines. He has paused hosting the podcast until June to attend to his White House duties.
Approach and Motivations
Excerpted from Andy’s Vignette profile
Informed by business career and personal tragedy, Slavitt embraces a hybrid approach
to achieving universal health care coverage
- Experienced health care investor and entrepreneur who has a strong belief in leveraging markets, incentives, and private-sector investment to lower health care costs and improve access, while expanding public coverage through Medicaid
- After a close friend died of a brain tumor at a young age and his wife nearly went bankrupt from the medical costs, Slavitt became attuned to the heavy financial burden of illness and founded Health Allies, with the goal of connecting patients to lower-cost medical services
- Applies a “business-performance perspective” to government work; views taxpayers as shareholders who expect strong outcomes from programs they have invested money in
- Offers clear-cut messaging during White House press briefings on the administration’s efforts to contain the virus; says his approach is “not always what people want to hear” but it’s “the straight story”
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