KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

full issue

Hearing For Trump Nominee Likely Will Focus On Her Work Helping States Revamp Medicaid

Seema Verma heads a consulting firm that has helped several GOP-led states seek more leeway in setting up their Medicaid programs, most notably the expansion plan in Indiana. Democrats are concerned that could signal how she will try to reshape the agency that oversees Medicaid, Medicare and much of the federal health law.

Indianapolis Star: Architect Of Indiana's Medicaid Plan Faces Confirmation Hearing
Seema Verma, the Indiana health care consultant who has been tapped to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, will face senators’ questions Thursday on how she would approach the job if confirmed. Exhibit A is likely to be Indiana’s alternative Medicaid program, which Verma designed, and which has been praised by Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price as a national model. (Groppe, 2/15)

The Associated Press: Trump Nominee Has Decried Medicaid For Fostering Dependency
The businesswoman President Donald Trump selected to oversee Medicaid, the health care program for 74 million low-income Americans, has said the program is structurally flawed by policies that burden states and foster dependency among the poor. ... Her proposed solutions can be seen most dramatically in Indiana, where Medicaid enrollees pay fees and a missed payment means a six-month lockout from the program. ... Democrats in Washington are concerned Verma's methods may become a favored model as Republicans work to repeal the Affordable Care Act, making it harder for non-disabled adults to get access to health care. (Johnson, 2/16)

CNN: Seema Verma: The Woman Who Could Remake Health Care
If confirmed, she would take over CMS at a moment of particular uncertainty for the health care industry as Republicans seek to dismantle Obamacare but haven't settled on a replacement plan. That makes Verma's work in Indiana and other states especially notable since it could provide a roadmap for what she could do in Washington. (Bradner, 2/16)

Modern Healthcare: Conflicts Of Interest May Prevent Nominee To Lead CMS From Making Medicaid Decisions
Seema Verma will need clearance from the HHS office of ethics before she can weigh in on any decisions involving states that paid her to help tweak their Medicaid programs. ... From Indiana alone, Verma's Indianapolis-based firm, SVC Inc. collected more than $6.6 million in consulting fees. The firm helped the state expand Medicaid .... That and other contracts led Verma to inform the HHS' ethics office that she will request written authorization before hearing matters involving states she worked for. That also includes Arkansas, South Carolina, and Virginia. (Dickson, 2/14)

This is part of the KHN Morning Briefing, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.