Provider and insurance groups applauded the confirmation of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services after a 55-44 approval vote by the Senate on Tuesday.
Brooks-LaSure is a veteran of health policy, formerly serving as deputy director for policy at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight within CMS and earlier at the Department of Health and Human Services as director of coverage policy.
She most recently served as managing director at Manatt Health, where she provided policy analysis and strategic advice to healthcare stakeholders across the private and public sectors.
WHY THIS MATTERS
As a former Obama-era policy official who helped to implement the Affordable Care Act, Brooks-LaSure was viewed as a front-runner for the post who could carry out the Biden Administration’s efforts to strengthen the ACA.
Providers and others pointed to Brooks-LaSure’s work on the ACA, her experience with Medicare and Medicaid policy, and her advocacy on health equity issues and for the underserved.
Margaret A. Murray, CEO of the Association for Community Affiliated Plans, said, “Ms. Brooks-LaSure has a strong record of advocacy for improving access to health coverage. We celebrate particularly her efforts to oppose barriers – such as work requirements – that further complicate Medicaid eligibility determination, her support for policies that root out racial inequities in maternal health, and her spoken desire to strengthen the Affordable Care Act and restore protections lost over the last four years.”
Matt Eyles, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, said, “Ms. Brooks-LaSure is passionately committed to improving health equity in our nation’s healthcare system and has worked tirelessly to expand coverage to uninsured Americans by building on what we have through the Affordable Care Act.”
Beth Feldpush, senior vice president of Policy and Advocacy for America’s Essential Hospitals, said, “Brooks-LaSure takes the reins at CMS at a critical juncture for our nation, as COVID-19 and its lingering economic effects make access to healthcare coverage more important than ever. Her intimate knowledge of, and experience with, Medicaid and Medicare make her well suited to meet these challenges. We also welcome Brooks-LaSure’s long-standing focus on disparities in health and healthcare, such as Black maternal mortality and morbidity.”
The Coalition Against Surprise Medical Billing said, “We applaud the confirmation of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to lead CMS and look forward to working with her to ensure patients are fully protected from surprise medical bills. While the No Surprises Act was an important first step in taking patients out of the middle of billing disputes, how the law is implemented will have significant consequences on consumers’ healthcare costs and their trust in the health system.”
Charles Stellar, president and CEO of WEDI, the Workgroup for Electronic Data Interchange, said, “Administrator Brooks-LaSure is now in a position to lead the nation’s COVID-19 relief efforts and reform of the Medicare and Medicaid programs to better address the needs of beneficiaries and the underserved. WEDI looks forward to working closely with Administrator Brooks-LaSure as she leads the transition to automated solutions for administrative transactions and the leveraging of data interoperability to facilitate improved delivery of patient care.”
THE LARGER TREND
President Biden nominated Brooks-LaSure as administrator of CMS in February.
She takes over from Acting Administrator Elizabeth Richter.
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