Arguably the most hardworking and innovative health care administrator in US history announced that he is leaving his position as administrator of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Mark McClellan has done more to change thinking and the culture of healthcare away from command and control, government run systems to a consumer driven approach that dovetails with the technological trend towards personalized medicine. Mark oversaw and helped engineer both transformations first as FDA commissioner through the Critical Path initiative and then as administrator of CMS with the implementation of MMA which apart from giving seniors drug coverage for the first time via Medicare has also caused millions of seniors to take charge of their health care dollars.
Mark’s tenure was not without controversy. He took on those who wanted to import unsafe drugs as a political stunt and threatened to demoralize and scare seniors into not signing up for the new benefit. But as Ronald Reagan said: “A leader, once convinced a particular course of action is the right one, must have the determination to stick with it and be undaunted when the going gets rough.”
That was the essence of McClellan as a health care policy leader.