Biden adviser Andy Slavitt leaving COVID-19 role

Biden adviser Andy Slavitt said Tuesday he will leave the White House on Wednesday after supporting the federal COVID-19 response in a temporary role.

Mr. Slavitt pointed to the improving situation in the U.S. after more than half of the national population received at least one dose of a vaccine and 13 states reached President Biden’s goal of getting a shot into at least 70% of their adults.

“It has been an honor to serve as part of an administration committed to working day and night until Americans are able to feel safe again from this pandemic,” he said.

Mr. Slavitt rose to prominence after former President Barack Obama hired him from UnitedHealth Group’s Optum unit to fix the Affordable Care Act’s website, which crashed after its launch in fall 2013.

Mr. Slavitt later oversaw federal insurance programs for Mr. Obama and served as a leading voice against the proposed repeal of Obamacare during the first year of the Trump administration.

Mr. Biden tapped Mr. Slavvit to support his early response to COVID-19. He frequently appeared on television and updated reporters at regular briefings on the virus.

He spoke in personal terms about his son’s battle with lingering symptoms from “long COVID” and dotted briefing remarks from humor.

On Tuesday, he said winners of state-based vaccine lotteries are not only millionaires but eligible for a free beer from Anheuser-Busch if the U.S. hits Mr. Biden’s vaccine goal of reaching 70% of adults by July 4.

“What a great country!” he said.

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