- President-elect Donald Trump announced Tuesday he will nominate health policy consultant Seema Verma, president, CEO and founder of SVC, to serve as the next CMS Administrator.
- Verma spearheaded Gov. Mitch Daniels' (R-PA) Medicaid expansion model Healthy Indian Plan (HIP), and advised vice president-elect Gov. Mike Pence (R-IN) on HIP 2.0.
- The announcement of Trump's pick for CMS was made alongside his nomination for the next HHS Secretary - vocal ACA critic Rep. Tom Price (R-GA).
Verma's work with Medicaid reform programs stands out among the health insurance and public health projects she has led. The Federation of American Hospitals in particular came out to support Trump's nominee because of her experience in state Medicaid programs.
"President-elect 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," Federation of American Hospitals President and CEO Chip Kahn said in a statement. "A number of our members have experienced her efforts in Indiana and other states and FAH looks forward to developing a strong working relationship with her as she makes the transition to her new and important role in Washington.”
She has helped with Tennessee’s proposal for expanding Medicaid coverage, Michigan's implementation of its 1115 Medicaid waiver, and Iowa’s Medicaid program transitioning to managed care, according to her SVC profile.
"Enhancing state flexibility, particularly with respect to the low-income, able-bodied population, can help cultivate further state innovation, leading to a stronger and more effective Medicaid program," Verma and Brian Neale, who served as healthcare policy director for Gov. Pence, wrote in an August Health Affairs blog post.
Before entering the consulting field, she worked at Health & Hospital Corporation and the Association of State and Territorial Health Officials. She earned a master’s in public health at Johns Hopkins University.
In a Facebook post, Trump argued appointing Verma and Price will lead to promising results. "Together, Chairman Price and Seema Verma are the dream team that will transform our healthcare system for the benefit of all Americans,” he wrote. However, Trump's picks could be interesting as Verma has appeared to be in favor of at least some of the ACA's provisions (as has Trump recently) while Price has historically contended it should be replaced.
A majority vote from the Senate is required for the nominees to secure their new positions.