Seema Verma: The Health Care Reformer America Needs

 Her Deep Knowledge And Experience With Health Care, Especially With Medicaid, Makes Her ‘The Ideal Candidate’ To Oversee Reform

“The Senate on Monday confirmed Seema Verma, a health policy expert from Indiana… By a vote of 55 to 43, the Senate approved the nomination of Ms. Verma to be the administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which spends more than $1 trillion a year on programs providing health care to more than one-third of all Americans.” (“Health Policy Expert Is Confirmed As Medicare And Medicaid Administrator,” The New York Times, 3/13/17)

“Unlike most people who have held the job, Ms. Verma has extensive experience in Medicaid… Under the program she helped devise, ‘hundreds of thousands of Hoosiers currently have health insurance,’ said Senator Joe Donnelly of Indiana, one of three Democrats who voted for her on Monday. ‘This plan,’ he said, ‘has helped lower our state’s uninsured rate and improve health care outcomes, and has played a critical role in combating the opioid-abuse and heroin-use epidemics.’” (“Health Policy Expert Is Confirmed As Medicare And Medicaid Administrator,” The New York Times, 3/13/17)

Seema Verma Possesses ‘The Respect, Hands-On Experience And Relationships With State Leaders That Will Be Critical’ For Repealing & Replacing Obamacare

SENATE MAJORITY LEADER MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “[T]here is much the administration can do to help bring calm out of the chaos from Obamacare’s broken promises…. Seema Verma, who’s been nominated to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services — can take important steps too. Ms. Verma is extremely qualified with a health policy background and a record of success.  She is committed to … modernizing Medicaid so the programs deliver the best results for those who need it…. Now is the time for a CMS Administrator with the right experience as we repeal and replace Obamacare.  I know this nominee will strengthen the vital programs she has been tasked to lead, because she has a history of doing just that.  I look forward to confirming Ms. Verma later today so that she can get to work immediately developing solutions to the crisis of Obamacare.” (Sen. McConnell, Press Release, 3/13/2017)

SENATE FINANCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): “The challenges plaguing both Medicare and Medicaid require a strong partnership between the administration and Congress to improve these programs and help enact the necessary reforms to ensure their solvency for future generations. Ms. Verma will help facilitate that partnership and as we work to repeal and replace Obamacare, she will play a vital role in realigning the focus on patient-centered solutions.” (Senate Finance Committee, Press Release, 3/02/2017)

21 GOVERNORS: “There are few professionals in the nation who possess the respect, hands-on experience and relationships with state leaders that will be critical as the Congress and Administration work to repeal and replace the Affordable Care Act. Medicaid represents an enormous burden on state budgets combined with an unprecedented opportunity to reform a federal entitlement program long in need of structural changes. Ms. Verma is the ideal candidate to oversee the reform of Medicaid design and ensuring pending state waivers are fast-tracked and with the underlying premise that Medicaid is a State-Federal partnership…. Ms. Verma has a unique understanding of the nexus between the health insurance marketplace and the states and the impact of the ACA on coverage and cost.” (21 Governors, Letter To Sen. Hatch, 2/15/2017)

‘Verma Is The Ideal Candidate To Oversee The Reform Of The Medicaid Program’

SEN. ORRIN HATCH (R-UT): “Medicaid represents an enormous burden on state budgets, and we now have an unprecedented opportunity to reform a federal entitlement program long in need of structural changes. Ms. Verma is the ideal candidate to oversee the reform of the Medicaid program and take steps administratively to give states the flexibility they've been clamoring for.” (Sen. Hatch, Floor Remarks, 3/13/2017)

Medical Professionals: ‘Seema Verma Has A Solid Reputation As An Effective Innovator In Assisting States In Reforming And Modernizing Medicaid Programs’

ASSOCIATION OF AMERICAN MEDICAL COLLEGES President Darrell G. Kirch, MD: “The AAMC commends [President] Donald Trump for nominating Seema Verma for CMS administrator. As the architect of the Healthy Indiana Plan and advisor to other states navigating Medicaid reforms, she offers a unique perspective for overseeing policies that are crucial for maintaining a health care system that will improve the health of all Americans. With experience in the hospital setting, Ms. Verma will bring to CMS her firsthand knowledge of many of the issues affecting AAMC member institutions.” (Association Of American Medical Colleges, Press Release, 11/29/2016)

INDIANA HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION: “An Indiana resident,?Verma?is well-known in the health policy community for her work on Medicaid issues … She designed [then Governor] Pence's Medicaid expansion model — known as Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 — and has advised several Republican states on how to add conservative elements to their programs, such as health savings accounts and employment requirements. She also designed the original Healthy Indiana Plan under former Governor Mitch Daniels nearly 10 years ago.” (“Trump Nominates Indiana Health Consultant Seema?Verma?As Next Administrator Of CMS,” Indiana Hospital Association Website, 11/30/2016)

FEDERATION OF AMERICAN HOSPITALS: “[President] Trump’s selection to lead CMS, Seema Verma, has a solid reputation as an effective innovator in assisting states in reforming and modernizing Medicaid programs for low income Americans.” (Chip Kahn, “Statement On President-Elect Trump’s HHS Nominations,” FAH Hospital Policy Blog, 11/29/2016)

AMERICAN HOSPITAL ASSOCIATION President Rick Pollack: “The American Hospital Association (AHA) congratulates Seema Verma on her nomination to serve as administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). Her experience with the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0 gives her a deep understanding of the importance of health care coverage for the patients served by hospital and health systems.” (American Hospital Association, Press Release, 11/29/2016)

Republican Health Care Bill Features ‘The Most Meaningful Modernization Of [Medicaid] Since It Was Created’

SEN. MITCH McCONNELL (R-KY): “It’s the first real entitlement change to Medicaid since Medicaid came into existence.  And we have a real shot at developing a private health insurance market that actually works.  Because clearly the one we have now doesn’t.” (“Playbook Interview with Mitch McConnell,” Politico, 3/09/2017)

“Though the individual insurance market dominates the debate, the House’s Medicaid reform might be more important…. The House would convert Medicaid’s funding formula from an open-ended entitlement into block grants to states. The amount would be determined by per capita enrollment and grow with medical inflation. States would thus have a reason to set priorities and retarget Medicaid on the truly needy. The GOP envisions giving Governors more regulatory power to run their own programs … [T]his is the most meaningful modernization of the program since it was created in 1965.” (Editorial, “A Historic Health-Care Moment,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/07/2017)

SPEAKER PAUL RYAN (R-WI): “Here’s another issue with Obamacare. Obamacare is not just the individual market that you think of the Obamacare subsidies, it was also a taking over of the Medicaid program. Here is the problem with Medicaid. Medicaid is a program that is Washington-controlled and it is done in such a way that it stops innovation and experimentation at the state level. It makes it harder for states to customize the Medicaid population and the Medicaid program to work for their particular states. And as a result, more and more doctors just don’t take Medicaid.” (Speaker Ryan, Press Conference, 3/09/2017)

  • SPEAKER RYAN: “So what we propose is to modernize the Medicaid program. Modernize the Medicaid program along the lines that we as Republicans have been talking about for years. … [E]very one of our Republican conservative budgets said let’s get Medicaid control back to the states. And [honor] the principle of federalism, give the states and the governors the freedom and the flexibility to customize the care for their low-income populations how they think needs to occur.” (Speaker Ryan, Press Conference, 3/09/2017)

HOUSE WAYS & MEANS COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN KEVIN BRADY (R-TX) AND ENERGY & COMMERCE COMMITTEE CHAIRMAN GREG WALDEN (R-OR): “Our legislation strengthens Medicaid, which is a critical lifeline for millions of Americans. But Medicaid’s flaws—it offers patients fewer choices and less access to quality care than private insurance—were worsened by ObamaCare’s expansion of the program. To unwind it responsibly, our legislation would freeze new enrollment in ObamaCare’s Medicaid expansion, while grandfathering in existing enrollees. People currently covered under the expansion would stay in the program if they remain eligible. Over time, as their incomes or eligibilities change, they will naturally cycle off Medicaid and receive other help accessing private insurance. We also refocus Medicaid’s limited resources to the patients most in need. Our legislation proposes a bipartisan idea known as a ‘per capita allotment’ to determine a fair amount of funding for each state based on the number of enrollees in its Medicaid population.” (Reps. Brady and Walden, Op-Ed, “The Health Bill You’ve Waited For,” The Wall Street Journal, 3/07/2017)



Related Issues: Nominations, Entitlement Reform, Obamacare, Health Care