Seema Verma Confirmed as CMS Administrator

Verma is best-known as the designer of Indiana's Medicaid expansion program, which features a lockout provision for those who fail to pay premiums.

The Senate today voted 55-43 to confirm President Donald Trump’s nominee to run CMS.

Seema Verma will take over the giant agency that operates Medicare and Medicaid and is the nation’s largest payer, setting policy for those programs and the blueprint that most other commercial plans follow.

An ally of many conservatives, she is best known as the designer of the alternate Medicaid plan developed in Indiana under former governor Republican Governor Mitch Daniels, and carried to the fruition by now-Vice President Mike Pence. She has also been involved in developing work requirements to overhaul the Medicaid expansion program for Kentucky for its new governor, Matt Bevin.

As Indiana governor, Pence modified Daniels’ program for Medicaid expansion, which featured premium contributions, incentives for healthy behaviors, and a benefit lock-out if they failed to pay premium. However, there have been recent accusations that Healthy Indiana 2.0, as the program is called, may have fudge the numbers when evaluating its performance.

Critics of Verma disagree with her approach to making the poor pay more to get less from Medicaid. And Democrats said they struggled to get complete answers to their questions.

“What I read was a lot of happy talk that didn't amount to much substance," Sen. Ron Wyden. D-Oregon, has said.