Top of Mind Tuesday: Who’s the New CMS Administrator?
By Elizabeth B. Lippincott
The answer to that question is not as straightforward as you might think. Chiquita Brooks-Lasure is the nominee to serve as the next CMS Administrator, but she has yet to assume the role. The previous CMS Administrator, Seema Verna, resigned effective January 20, 2021, as is customary in an administration transition. Elizabeth Richter then became Acting Administrator of CMS, after having served at CMS since 1990, and continues in that interim role due to the holdup of the confirmation of President Biden’s appointee.
President Biden nominated Brooks-Lasure to be the next CMS Administrator on February 19, 2021, and Brooks-Lasure’s confirmation hearing in the Senate Finance Committee took place on April 15, 2021. Although the confirmation hearing did not include any significant opposition from Republicans, Senator John Cornyn (R-TX) has since taken steps to block Brooks-Lasure’s confirmation following the reversal of a last-minute extension by the outgoing Trump administration of Texas’ uncompensated care waiver. Senator Cornyn stated that he will hold up the nomination until the question of the 10-year extension of the Texas Medicaid waiver can be resolved.
Chiquita Brooks-Lasure is currently a managing director at Manatt Health, where she provides policy analysis. During the Obama administration, she served as Deputy Director for Policy at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), and before her tenure at CCIIO, Brooks-Lasure led HHS’ implementation of ACA coverage and insurance reforms.
We anticipate a pause in significant regulatory or enforcement policy changes coming out of the Center for Medicare within CMS, pending confirmation of the new administrator and appointment of other political appointees in key leadership positions.