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HCFA CHIEF WILENSKY MOVING TO WHITE HOUSE DOMESTIC POLICY STAFF

Executive Summary

HCFA CHIEF WILENSKY MOVING TO WHITE HOUSE DOMESTIC POLICY STAFF in an election-year shift to strengthen the Bush Administration's health issues staff. Health Care Financing Administration chief Gail Wilensky, PhD, has received an offer to join the Bush Administration's domestic policy staff, as Deputy Assistant to the President with responsibility for health issues and welfare reform. The announcement has not been released officially by the White House. However, information about the change is being circulated and confirmed as if the change is a certainty. Wilensky will assume some of the duties of Roger Porter, Assistant to the President for Economic and Domestic Policy. Porter currently is responsible for health policy as part of his much broader domestic policy assignment. Wilensky will be leaving the demanding HCFA top-spot after two years. She joined HCFA in February, 1990, after serving as director of Project Hope's center for health affairs. President Bush has been expanding his domestic policy staff with specialists in certain areas of concern where advisors were too thinly spread. The offer to Wilensky comes less than two weeks after the appointment of former GOP Chairman Clayton Yeutter as Counsel to the President for Economic and Domestic Policy. Yeutter and Porter work in tandem in the President's Policy Coordinating Group. The Bush White House has lacked a health policy specialist since the departure of William Roper, MD, in March 1990. Roper, who like Wilensky was offered a position in the White House after a term as HCFA Administrator, served as a policy advisor for only a year before moving to the Centers for Disease Control. Wilensky is the second high ranking HHS employee to be offered a White House post recently. Constance Horner left her position as HHS Deputy Secretary in August 1991 to join the White House as Assistant to the President and Director of Presidential Personnel. Under consideration for the acting administrator post during the interim during the search for a permanent appointee are HCFA Associate Administrator for Management Bob Streimer and HCFA Associate Administrator for Operations Lou Hayes, who served as acting administrator between Roper's departure from HCFA in February 1989 and Wilensky's appointment a year later.

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