Trump picks Indiana and Kentucky’s Medicaid consultant to run Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Seema Verma (Photo: Drew Angerer, Getty)

President-elect Donald Trump says he will nominate the Indiana consultant who advised Kentucky on its Medicaid waiver request to head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.

Seema Verma also “helped craft Medicaid waiver proposals under the Affordable Care Act in Iowa, Indiana, Ohio, Michigan, and Tennessee,” Casey Ross notes for Stat, the health-and-science supplement to The Boston Globe. In Indiana, she “reshaped Medicaid by requiring recipients to pay premiums and tracking their compliance with healthy behaviors.”

Kentucky’s waiver request seeks two things that officials of the Obama administration have said they would not approve: Requiring beneficiaries with incomes below the poverty level to pay premiums; and requiring those who are not primary caregivers to either work or take job training.

It remains unclear whether officials of CMS and its parent Department for Health and Human Services will act on the waiver request before the Obama administration ends Jan. 20. Gov. Matt Bevin said Trump’s election improved the chances of approval for changes that the waiver seeks.

“Verma’s selection to head CMS will quickly change Washington’s posture toward Kentucky’s proposal and many others that seek to rein in spending,” Ross writes.

Verma worked for Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, whom Bevin called “my closest political friend” when introducing Pence at a Trump “thank you” rally in Cincinnati Thursday night.

Verma’s appointment is subject to confirmation by the Senate.

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