President-elect Donald Trump today announced that Seema Verma, MPH, an architect of Medicaid expansion under the Affordable Care Act (ACA) in Indiana, is his choice to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS).
As part of Trump's team to repeal and replace the ACA and overhaul Medicaid, Verma is well versed on how to shift healthcare policy decisions from Washington, DC, to state capitals. If confirmed by the Senate, she presumably would answer to Rep. Tom Price, MD (R-Ga), Trump's nominee for secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and a staunch opponent of a large federal footprint in healthcare.
Verma is the founder and president of SVC, a healthcare policy consulting firm in Indianapolis. She's credited with designing the 9-year-old "consumer-directed" Medicaid program called Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), which gives beneficiaries something similar to a health savings account — it's called a Personal Wellness and Responsibility (POWER) account — to apply toward a $2500 deductible. Verma also helped create HIP 2.0, which expanded Medicaid coverage as part of the ACA using federal dollars.