How President Trump’s Pick To Head Health Agency Could Shape Republican Medicaid Reform


By: Bertha Coombs

Robin Henderson would be left with nothing if it wasn’t for Medicaid’s coverage, via Health Indiana Plan (HIP 2.0). This program was designed by Seema Verma and Mike Pence, and now that President Trump has assigned Seema Verma as head of the CMS, she will be very involved with Medicaid decisions on repealing or not the Affordable Care Act. As Joan Alker, executive director at CCF, mentioned, there has never been anyone as experienced with Medicaid as Seema Verma which speaks about how important this system has become nationwide.

“I’ve never seen somebody in the job… come to this with really only Medicaid experience,” said Joan Alker, the executive director of Georgetown University’s Center for Children and Families and research professor at the McCourt School of Public Policy. “I think that speaks to how important the Medicaid system has become in our health-care system,” Alker said.

“If you don’t pay your premium on time, or you don’t get your paperwork in on time — even if you go back and say I’m going to pay my premiums — you’re actually locked out of the program for 6-12 months,” said Georgetown’s Alker.

“There are really two important questions for the Medicaid program going forward. There is this question of repeal and replace, which affects the new folks who are financed through Obamacare, but the fundamental program itself… services children, seniors in nursing homes and people with disabilities,” explained Alker.

“If the federal government cuts [Medicaid] spending… those health costs aren’t going away. That will simply be a huge cost shift to the states,” she said.

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