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MI Responds: Seema Verma Confirmed to Head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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MI Responds: Seema Verma Confirmed to Head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

March 14, 2017
Health PolicyMedicare/Medicaid

Manhattan Institute scholars evaluate the confirmation of Seema Verma as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

Seema Verma, a health care consultant and the architect of Indiana’s successful Healthy Indiana Plan, is a strong choice to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Currently, Medicaid’s open-ended federal matching formula encourages states to allocate money to health services that could be better spent on safety net supports elsewhere, including by beneficiaries themselves. I hope Verma comes to CMS with the same commitment to state innovation and beneficiary responsibility that she demonstrated in Indiana.

Paul Howard, Director of Health Policy

Read Paul's testimony before the House Committee on Energy and Commerce's hearing on Medicaid and his op-ed, Asking More From Medicaid Than Just an Insurance Card.

With Seema Verma’s confirmation as Administrator, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services now has a leader who understands the need for Medicaid reform and the importance of giving states a central role. The current system misallocates over $100 billion per year by rewarding states that grow their Medicaid rolls and their spending on each recipient instead of focusing cost-effective support on the neediest populations. As a result, Medicaid now dominates America’s social safety net spending and has shoved aside other strategies that would better serve low-income households. If the federal government lets states decide how to spend their anti-poverty dollars, they will spend much less on Medicaid but have much more success.

Oren Cass, Senior Fellow

Read Oren's report, Over-Medicaid-ed: How Medicaid Distorts and Dilutes America's Safety Net.

Seema Verma is a thoughtful leader with experience designing unique approaches to Medicaid reform. Upon taking the reins at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Verma should put this experience to work in protecting the Medicare program. In particular, CMS should lead the way in designing and testing Medicare reform approaches that build on the success of private plans in the program, while still protecting beneficiaries and offering taxpayers high value for their money.

Yevgeniy Feyman, Adjunct Fellow

Read Yevgeniy's report, Three Reforms That Can Help Balance Medicare Finances.

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"MI Responds" features real-time commentary from MI scholars on breaking news and developing issues. 

Photo by Drew Angerer / Getty

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