Senate confirms Obama admin veteran Brooks-LaSure to lead CMS

The Senate confirmed Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to lead the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Tuesday.

The 55 to 44 vote ensures that the Obama administration veteran will helm the agency responsible for Medicare, Medicaid and Affordable Care Act policies and regulations.

Brooks-LaSure was previously the director of coverage policy at the Department of Health and Human Services and led the implementation of the ACA’s coverage and insurance reform policy provisions.

She takes over an agency likely to come under major Republican scrutiny on how to unwind controversial waivers for Medicaid policy.

The Senate Finance Committee split evenly on whether to advance her nomination as CMS administrator, with all Republicans on the panel refusing to back her. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer was still able to bring her nomination to the floor after a key procedural vote.

Republicans have bashed CMS’ decision to pull a waiver that extended Texas’ Medicaid program through 2030. The Trump administration approved the waiver right before President Biden was inaugurated in January.

But CMS has claimed that the approval process for the waiver was flawed and the comment process was insufficient. Texas has sued the federal government to get the decision reversed.

CMS is also making moves to withdraw controversial Medicaid work requirement waivers approved under the Trump administration.

Brooks-LaSure will also take the lead on several other major regulatory issues, including how to make flexibilities for telehealth permanent.

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