U.S. Sen. Sherrod Brown (D-OH) today voted against the confirmation of Seema Verma, President Donald Trump's nominee to lead the Centers from Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS).
"We cannot put the healthcare of the millions of Ohioans who rely on Medicaid and Medicare in the hands of Seema Verma, who has spent the last 20 years making it harder for families to get the care they need," said Brown.
Verma helped the State of Ohio craft a proposal that would have increased healthcare costs for nearly one million Ohioans, including those struggling with addiction and former foster youth. It was rejected by the Obama Administration and would have forced Ohioans on Medicaid who cannot afford monthly premiums to be locked out of coverage.
During a hearing last month, Brown pressed Verma with tough questions on how she'll work to improve healthcare for Ohioans and reiterated his opposition to raising the Medicare eligibility age and forcing Ohioans to work more years before accessing the Medicare benefits they've earned.
As CMS Administrator, Verma would be responsible for administering Medicare and assisting in overseeing both Medicaid and the Children's Health Insurance Program (CHIP). Brown, who has led Senate efforts to extend and expand CHIP secured a commitment from Verma and Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price to work with him on extending CHIP -- which will expire this year and insures 130,000 Ohio children.
Brown also secured a commitment from Verma to meet with Ohio's new Medicaid Director Barbara Sears if confirmed to foster a positive relationship between the state of Ohio and CMS to better serve the millions of Ohioans who rely on Medicaid.