Senate panel approves pick for Medicaid and Medicare chief

Victoria Sarno Jordan

President Trump’s pick to head the Medicaid and Medicare programs won approval from the Senate Finance Committee Thursday, sending her nomination to the full Senate. 

Seema Verma’s nomination was delayed Wednesday after too many members voted by proxy. She was approved on a 13-12 vote Thursday. 

If confirmed as the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) administrator within the Health and Human Services Department, Verma will play a large role in reforming the programs, as well as GOP efforts on repealing and replacing ObamaCare. 

{mosads}Reforming Medicare and Medicaid has been a top priority for Republicans as they seek to bring down costs for the programs. Democrats opposing her nomination said she didn’t answer their questions about what she would do with the programs. 

At her hearing last month, Sen. Bill Nelson (D-Fla.) suggested Verma had “constraints” placed on her regarding how she could respond to sensitive questions.

“I’m sorry that you have the constraints put on you so that you can’t answer these questions forthrightly,” Nelson said.

“These are the questions senior citizens are begging to hear the answers to.”

Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah), however, praised Verma Thursday as the right person to usher through healthcare reforms. 

“We need experienced and responsible leadership at the helm of our federal agencies, and CMS is no exception,” he said.

“The challenges plaguing both Medicare and Medicaid require a strong partnership between the administration and Congress to improve these programs and help enact the necessary reforms to ensure their solvency for future generations.”

Tags Bill Nelson Orrin Hatch

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