On Tuesday, November 29, President-elect Trump nominated Seema Verma, the president, CEO and founder of a health care policy consulting firm, to be the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Verma has over 20 years of policy experience and has worked extensively in reforming state Medicaid programs. Under Indiana Republican Governor Mitch Daniels, she was the architect of, and in 2007 helped launch, a Medicaid reform package—Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP)—that has been touted as the first consumer-directed Medicaid program in the country. More recently, she led the work on then-Indiana Governor Pence’s Medicaid waiver plan, dubbed HIP 2.0.
HIP 2.0 received federal waivers to include provisions requiring that Medicaid recipients make small monthly contributions into health savings accounts, then purchase their own insurance with state assistance. Beneficiaries who miss payments can experience periods of lockout. Other waivers that Verma introduced included provisions requiring recipients to work or actively look for work.
In a Health Affairs blog post this summer, Verma stated that “HIP has been successful in meeting its policy objectives, but it also continues to demonstrate the potential for consumer-driven health care as an alternative to the traditional Medicaid model. While HIP has never touted itself as some sort of national silver bullet, it continues to serve as an example for states having similar interest in realigning Medicaid with the broader objective of individual empowerment.”
In addition to her work in Indiana, Verma through her consulting firm developed Medicaid proposals for Iowa, Ohio and Kentucky and played a role in the development of Tennessee’s coverage proposal. Aside from her work in the Medicaid area, Gov. Daniels also picked Verma to help the state prepare for and implement the Affordable Care Act.
Verma is known for being innovative, persuasive and detailed-oriented, and for her depth of her knowledge and experience regarding the ACA’s insurance and exchange provisions and Medicaid reform.