The Senate approved the confirmation of Seema Verma as the administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services on Monday afternoon.
The Senate voted 55-43 in favor of her appointment. A majority vote was needed to secure her confirmation.
Verma is the president, CEO and founder of SVC Inc., a national health policy consulting company. She has close ties to Vice President Mike Pence, with whom she worked on Indiana’s Medicaid expansion plan when he was governor.
Despite her knowledge of Medicaid policy, many Democrats were frustrated that she didn’t provide details about where she stood on Medicaid block grants, vouchers, Medicaid privatization and strategies to reduce or negotiate with drugmakers over drug prices. They also raised conflict-of-interest questions over her business arrangements with Hewlett Packard when she advised Pence on healthcare issues while he was governor.
Verma will now report to Tom Price, who was recently confirmed as secretary of the Department of Health and Human Services. She will be responsible for a $1 billion budget and will play a big role in efforts to reform Medicare or Medicaid.