The White House strongly criticized Democrats in the Senate for holding up the appointment of President Trump’s Indian-American nominee to head the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
“We had hoped to see Seema Verma, who would be confirmed as the as the administrator of Health Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services at the Department of Health and Human Services,” said White House spokesperson Sean Spicer at the press briefing March 9.
The U.S. Senate invoked a cloture motion to end the debate on Verma’s appointment later the same day, and she is expected to be cleared to take up her post next week. The cloture vote went largely on party lines 54-44, with 3 Democrats breaking ranks to vote for her. Democrats who voted for Verma included Sens. Heidi Heitkamp of North Dakota, Joe Donnelly of Indiana, and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
“Unfortunately, Senate Democrats continue to unnecessarily delay her confirmation. At this critical time when we’re talking about healthcare, it’s ironic that they refuse to consider someone with such amazing expertise in this area,” Spicer added.
Spicer went on to note that Verma had worked for over 20 years in healthcare policy.
“She has redesigned Medicaid programs in several states, including Indiana, Iowa, Ohio and Kentucky. She’s worked with governors’ offices, state Medicaid agencies, state health departments, state departments of insurance, as well as private companies and foundations,” Spicer said, adding, “She’s unquestionably and uniquely qualified for her position, and especially now that health reform is at the top of the President’s agenda, it’s time to get her in place.”
“This delay by Senate Democrats at this critical time is unacceptable,” Spicer asserted.
The first tranche of the Republican bill to repeal the Affordable Care Act has been universally opposed by Democrats, but has also received push back from some Republicans worried about Medicaid and Medicare programs that deal with seniors and low-income families.
As the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, Verma when approved, will be directly dealing with these services.