March 14, 2017
Secretary Price and CMS Administrator Verma Take First Joint Action: Affirm Partnership of HHS, CMS, and States to Improve Medicaid Program
Today, Ms. Seema Verma was sworn in as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). After her swearing-in ceremony, Health and Human Services Secretary Tom Price, M.D., and CMS Administrator Seema Verma took their first joint action, cosigning a letter to the nation’s governors affirming the Department’s intent to work with states to improve the Medicaid program and the lives of those it serves.
In the letter, Secretary Price and CMS Administrator Verma recognize the vital importance of the Medicaid program and the duty of government to put beneficiaries first, ensuring the highest level of quality, accessibility, and choices for Americans who rely on the program. They go on to note the current impediments that the Medicaid program faces and acknowledge the obligation to taxpayers to make sure Medicaid operates in a way that best serves the most vulnerable populations.
Both firmly believe that states know best how to care for their citizens and in the letter, Secretary Price and CMS Administrator Verma write, in part:
“Today, we commit to ushering in a new era for the federal and state Medicaid partnership where states have more freedom to design programs that meet the spectrum of diverse needs of their Medicaid population. We wish to empower all states to advance the next wave of innovative solutions to Medicaid’s challenges—solutions that focus on improving quality, accessibility, and outcomes in the most cost-effective manner. States, as administrators of the program, are in the best position to assess the unique needs of their respective Medicaid-eligible populations and to drive reforms that result in better health outcomes.”
The letter goes on to outline some of the key areas where HHS and CMS will work to improve collaboration with states, moving towards more effective Medicaid program management. Secretary Price and CMS Administrator Verma conclude their letter to governors confirming this partnership, stating:
“We intend for this to be the beginning of a discussion on how we can revamp the federal and state Medicaid partnership to effectively and efficiently improve health outcomes. We look forward to partnering with you in the years ahead to deliver on our shared goals of providing high quality, sustainable, health care to those that need it most.”