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Verma on Track to be Confirmed as CMS Administrator Next Week

March 9, 2017
by Rajiv Leventhal
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The Senate today has advanced the nomination of Seema Verma, President Trump’s pick to run the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), to a final floor vote tentatively scheduled for Monday March 13.

Breaking filibuster, the Senate invoked cloture for the nomination of Verma, meaning there would be no debate to go along with the vote today. A majority vote was needed to advance her nomination to the final Senate floor, and that’s precisely what happened, as Verma passed 54-44. Now, the final vote in the Senate will take place on Monday March 13 at 5:30 EST. Barring a total shock, Verma will be the next CMS Administrator.

Verma, president, CEO and founder of SVC, Inc., a national health policy consulting company, first faced the Senate Committee on Finance in February for a lengthy hearing  in which she was sharply questioned by Sen. Ron Wyden (D-Ore.), mostly about keeping Americans insured and her past conflicts of interest in which he alleged that she “contracted directly with the state of Indiana while also contracting with at least five companies that provided hundreds of millions of dollars in services and products to the programs she was helping the state manage.”

In a much shorter procedure on March 2, in which Verma did not speak, Sen. Wyden, the Senate Committee on Finance ranking member, again brought up his issues with Verma, but the committee nonetheless passed Verma’s nomination by a vote of 13-12. Meanwhile, Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) was overwhelmingly in favor of Verma’s nomination, calling her “a highly-qualified nominee,” praise for which he said “there’s [no one] who reasonably disputes that.”

Regarding health IT, Verma emphasized in her Senate hearing the need to reduce complexities of CMS rules and regulations, and also the need to put decisions in the hands of doctors and patients. Healthcare Informatics will update readers on this story as it continues to unfold in the coming days.

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