Verma Has Led The Charge In Trump’s War On Health Care and Must Answer For Her Role In Pushing His Sabotage Agenda At Today’s E&C Hearing

Washington, DC — Ahead of CMS Administrator Seema Verma’s testimony to the House Committee on Energy and Commerce Oversight and Investigations Subcommittee, Protect Our Care chair Leslie Dach released the following statement: 

“Since day one, Seema Verma has championed Trump’s health care sabotage agenda and  undermined Americans’ health care at every turn. Under Verma’s leadership, CMS has slashed the budget for open-enrollment, pushed junk insurance plans that don’t cover pre-existing conditions and sought to dismantle Medicaid by pushing onerous work requirements that kick people off the rolls. Fewer people are covered today by the Affordable Care Act and premiums are higher because of Seema Verma. Even her taxpayer-funded image consultants couldn’t salvage the damage done from her shameful campaign to undermine Americans’ health care. At tomorrow’s hearing, she must be held accountable for her role as a leader in Trump’s relentless war on health care.” 

BACKGROUND:

Seema Verma: Leading the Charge in Trump’s War On Health Care

Five Key Ways Verma Has Been At The Center Of Trump’s War On Health Care:

1. Seema Verma Led The Charge To Push Disastrous Medicaid Work Requirements. The Trump administration approved so-called work requirement proposals in nine states. After it became clear that thousands were being thrown off the Medicaid rolls under Arkansas’s program, Verma said these coverage losses were “not necessarily a bad thing,” and proceeded to approve waivers in other states. Medicaid work requirements have been repeatedly shot down in court, but Verma suggested this would not dissuade the administration’s efforts to approve programs in other states. Meanwhile, a recent GAO report found that the administrative costs to implement the failed work requirement programs in five states topped $400 million.  

2. Verma Tried To Blame The Health Care Law After 2 Million Lost Coverage. In September 2019, the Census revealed a steep rise in uninsured Americans for the first time since the implementation of the Affordable Care Act. Despite a resounding consensus from health care experts, the CMS administrator refused to concede the administration’s role in driving up the uninsured rate and instead pointed the finger at the very law that resulted in record number of insured Americans. 

3. Verma Claimed – Without Evidence – That The Trump Administration Had A “Contingency Plan” If The Texas Lawsuit Successfully Overturns The ACA. After a coalition of Republican-led states took to the courts to repeal the ACA, the Trump administration took the extraordinary step to refuse to defend the constitutionality of the law. Falling in line with Trump’s narrative, Verma has claimed that Trump has “contingency plans” if the ACA is overturned despite evidence to the contrary. In fact, the Trump administration has indicated it will seek to delay the ruling if the court overturns the ACA until after 2020 in order to save the health care system from complete chaos during Trump’s re-election campaign.  

4. Verma Has Sought To Dismantle Medicaid Through Block Grants. After reports that Verma was attempting to bypass Congress to allow states to block grant their Medicaid programs, Gov. Mike Dunleavy revealed Verma urged Alaska to be the first state to apply for these block grants. Other states have taken notice: Tennessee has moved to seek a block grant, with state officials saying that they have been “encouraged” by the CMS to pursue the policy. 

5. Verma Spent Millions Of Taxpayer Dollars On Image Consultants After Making Cuts To Critical Programs. Reporting exposed that Verma directed millions of taxpayer dollars in contracts to Republican communications consultants in order to help her brand. Politico noted that the consultants came during “a time when Verma has made cuts elsewhere, such as reducing advertising for Obamacare enrollment by tens of millions of dollars.” 

Bottom Line: Verma’s efforts have undoubtedly resulted in coverage losses and injected confusion in our health care system. In today’s hearing, Verma must explain to the American people why she supports taking away their health care.