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Trump Selects Price, Verma to Lead HHS and CMS

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Trump Selects Price, Verma to Lead HHS and CMS

December 5, 2016

Last week, president-elect Donald Trump announced his picks to lead the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).

The selection to lead HHS is Representative Tom Price (R-GA), who currently chairs the House Budget Committee. Price is an orthopedic surgeon who has long advocated for a replacement plan to the Affordable Care Act (ACA) which would focus on tax credits for the purchase of individual and family health insurance policies. It would also increase reliance on health savings accounts (HSAs) and high-risk pools at the state level. Critics of his plan say it would result in increased deductibles and co-payments. He has expressed support for plans that would reform Medicaid by decreasing federal spending in exchange for increased state flexibility. Incoming Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-NY) blasted the pick, saying, "Congressman Price has proven to be far out of the mainstream of what Americans want when it comes to Medicare, the Affordable Care Act, and Planned Parenthood. Thanks to those three programs, millions of American seniors, families, people with disabilities and women have access to quality, affordable health care."

The selection to lead CMS is Seema Verma, who worked as a consultant with vice-president elect Mike Pence in his role as the governor of Indiana, to help craft the Healthy Indiana Plan. One feature of the state's Medicaid plan is cost-sharing, requiring beneficiaries to pay out-of-pocket premiums in order to access services. Verma's consulting company, SVC Inc., worked with the state of Kentucky on plan which would require low-income Medicaid beneficiaries to perform work activities in order to remain covered. Verma holds a master's of public health from Johns Hopkins University and was the 2016 recipient of the Sagamore of the Wabash award, an award given by the state of Indiana recognizing distinguished service.

As is true of any high-level administrative position, these appointments are subject to Senate approval.