For the last weeks, Donald Trump has been assembling senior White House staff and his cabinet. Even though some in the media said that the Cabinet selection is much “disorganized”, it seems that the speed and timing of the Cabinet and the White House senior staff announcements are much consistent, or in some of the cases, faster than some of the previous administrations.
President-elect Donald Trump announced on Nov 29 that he plans to nominate Congressman Tom Price as the Secretary of Health and Human Services (HHS). He also revealed his intention to nominate Seema Verma as Administrator for the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS). Both of these nominees will need Senate confirmation before taking over the assignments officially.
Tom Price has been serving in the Congress since 2005 and has spent many years as Chair of the influential House Budget Committee. He is a past Chair of the Conservative Republican Study Committee, and also sits on the House Ways and Means Committee. Price was practicing as an orthopedic surgeon for about 20 years before serving in Congress.
As a Congressman, Price has been an active voice on healthcare problems. He has been a consistent vocal critic of the complex healthcare delivery system and has argued in many occasions that the physicians are overburdened with the unwanted administrative regulations, which detract them from practicing what they learned in medical school – diagnose and treat their patients. If confirmed, Tom Price would be the second physician to head HHS.
Seema Verma is a health policy consultant who has worked recently with the state of Indiana to reform the Medicaid program of the state. She is the president of her own health policy-consulting firm, and has been an important thought leader in Indiana and other US states to develop alternative delivery and payment models for the Medicaid programs.
Verma is a key advisor to the Indiana Medicaid officials as they obtained Medicaid waivers from Obama Administration for important Medicaid reforms under previous GOP Governor Mitch Daniels and current Governor of Indiana Mike Pence. In fact, Verma has been a consultant to many of the states that seek Medicaid waivers to test models to cover and provide care to the low-income individuals.
It is to be noted that Verma advocated for increased consumer engagement in financing of healthcare, promoting Health Savings Account approach for the Medicaid eligible individuals. As the new Administrator of CMS, she is expected to continue her focus on offering states increased authority to shape their Medicaid programs.