- Classifieds – Main
Last Thursday morning, the Senate Finance Committee held a confirmation hearing for Seema Verma, the Trump administration’s pick to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Though relatively breezy by confirmation-hearing standards at just under three hours and relatively low on theatrics, Verma’s low-key hearing will help determine the health outcomes for over a third of all Americans.
Verma is best-known for her role in reshaping the Indiana Medicaid program under then-Governor Mike Pence. Despite Pence being an ardent critic of Obamacare, Indiana made the choice to expand Medicaid anyway. But they utilized a pathway known as the 1115 waiver to craft a program that diverged significantly from the guidelines under the standard Obamacare program, and quickly created the most conservative Medicaid expansion program in the country. That program, known as the Healthy Indiana Plan 2.0, was the brainchild of Verma and her health-care consulting company, SVC, Inc, then recommended as an experienced expert and consultancy firm with knowledge of the minutiae of CMS regulations.
1. Seema Verma received her bachelor’s degree in life sciences from the University of Maryland—College Park and has a master’s degree in public health from Johns Hopkins University.
2. She founded Indianapolis-based health policy consulting firm SVC Inc. in 2001. The company has worked with several states (Indiana, Iowa, Kentucky, Maine, Michigan, Ohio and Tennessee) to set up Medicaid programs under the Affordable Care Act.
3. Verma is credited with designing the Healthy Indiana Plan, an insurance program for low-income Indiana resident that was created under then-Gov. Mike Pence.
4. The Indianapolis Star raised concerns in 2014 over a potential conflict of interest stemming from Verma being both a health care consultant for Indiana and an employee of a Hewlett-Packard unit that was among the state’s Medicaid vendors.
5. In 2016, Pence awarded Verma the Sagamore of the Wabash, an honorary award in Indiana that “is a personal tribute usually given to those who have rendered a distinguished service to the state or to the governor.”
6. In financial disclosures, Verma reported that within 90 days of her confirmation, she will sell SVC Inc. to Lansing, Michigan-based Health Management Associates.
7. Verma would be in charge of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which spends more than $1 trillion annually on programs that provide health care to Americans.
8. During her hearing before the Senate Committee on Finance in February, Verma referenced her Indian-American heritage: “I am extremely humbled as a first-generation American to be sitting before this committee after being nominated by the president of the United States. It is a testament to the fact that the American dream is very much alive for those willing to work for it.”
9. “She grew up in a Democratic household,” says Jugal Verma, Seema’s father. “I am a staunch Democrat.”
10. Verma’s husband, Sanjay, is a doctor as well. The couple has two children, Maya and Shaan.
To choose the right Medicare Supplement Plan, Medicare Advantage Plan or Medicare Prescription Drug Plan contact Sudhir Mathuria @ 713-771-2900.