On the day that President-Elect Donald Trump named U.S. Rep. Tom Price (R-Ga.) to head the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), he also tapped Seema Verma to be the new administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
Verma, a resident of Indiana, is president, CEO, and founder of SVC Inc., a national health policy consulting company with close ties to Vice President-Elect and outgoing Indiana Governor Mike Pence. Verma is credited with being the architect of the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), considered to be the nation’s first consumer-directed Medicaid program for able-bodied adults, which expanded the state’s Medicaid program under the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA). Through SVC, Verma worked on developing other Medicaid reform programs, including waivers for Iowa, Ohio, and Kentucky, as well as expanding coverage for Tennessee.
In a posting on the SVC website, Verma is credited for supporting Iowa’s transition from Medicaid to managed care. SVC also posted a description of its HIP plan, stating that through a series of Medicaid waivers, “HIP 2.0” had made it possible for “more Hoosiers living at or near the poverty line to access health coverage through Indiana’s seminal program, which now replaces Indiana’s traditional Medicaid program for able-bodied adults.” HIP 2.0 is characterized by its use of health savings accounts and requirements for adult employment.
Verma will succeed CMS Acting Administrator Andrew “Andy” M. Slavitt, who joined the agency on July 8, 2014 as principal deputy administrator. e Head
He was nominated by President Barack Obama in February 2015 as acting administrator following the resignation of then-CMS Administrator Marilyn Tavenner – whose boss at the time was HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius, who oversaw the rocky rollout of the healthcare.gov website. Prior to joining CMS, Slavitt had served as a vice president for Optum.
The nomination of Price, a former orthopedic surgeon, will be subject to Senate confirmation. Price is a five-term congressman and chairman of the House Budget Committee. He is also the author of the Empowering Patients First Act, a plan to repeal and replace the PPACA.
This continues to be a developing story. Follow it with RACmonitor.com as new developments emerge. Listen to Monitor Mondays, Dec. 5, 10-10:30 a.m. when Monitor Mondays Legislative Analyst Emily Evans reports on the choice of both Price and Verma by President-elect Trump to lead healthcare initiatives.
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Chuck Buck is the publisher of RACmonitor and the executive producer and program host of Monitor Mondays.
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