No significant opposition to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure’s nomination as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) emerged during her Senate Finance Committee hearing, leading political insiders to surmise that her confirmation will be smooth. In her testimony, Brooks-LaSure flagged the following issues as priorities: ensuring Medicare solvency, continuing the pandemic response, ensuring that Medicare and Medicaid work better together, implementing the American Rescue Plan, leveraging innovative technologies and ensuring better equity in health systems.
Specific to our members’ interests, three Senators inquired about the increased funding for the Home and Community-Based Services (HCBS) program included in the American Rescue Plan:
- Senator Bob Menendez (D-NJ) asked if she will work with states to swiftly disseminate information on how states can spend increased HCBS funding, to which Brooks-LaSure responded she would. (Note: ANCOR has requested prompt guidance on this issue in separate communications to CMS.)
- Senator Bob Casey (D-PA) asked for Brooks-LaSure’s commitment to work with Congress to secure appropriate funding for HCBS aligned with President Biden’s priorities, a commitment which Brooks-LaSure voiced.
- Senator Maggie Hassan (D-NH) asked how as CMS Administrator, Brooks-LaSure would work with states to ensure better access to HCBS. Brooks-LaSure responded by saying that one of her goals is to ensure care in the setting that makes sense for the patient, whether this means approving waivers or working with states to address key issues.
At this time, a date has not yet been set for the Senate Finance Committee vote on Brooks-LaSure's nomination. Assuming her nomination passes out of committee, the next step would be a full vote of the Senate to confirm Brooks-LaSure. We will keep our members informed as this process unfolds.