The Senate has confirmed President Joe Biden’s decision to run health insurance programs in the United States, launching a key player that will carry out its strategy to expand affordable coverage and control the costs of prescription drugs.
May 25, 2021, 5:04 p.m.
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The Senate vote was 55 to 44, and several Republicans joined Democrats to approve his nomination. Brooks-LaSure was expected to gain strong bipartisan support, but a controversy over a CMS action affecting the Republican-led Medicaid program in Texas ruined those possibilities.
During her confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee, Brooks-LaSure paid tribute to generations of black public service women and men who came before her. “Too often they were not given the opportunity to fulfill their full God-given potential,” he said. “But her selfless, often silent sacrifice paved the way for me and so many other women of color.”
Under Biden, he will be accused of advancing toward his goal of health insurance for all Americans based on existing programs, particularly Obama’s health care law. Biden’s COVID-19 Relief Bill has greatly expanded subsidies to private plans offered through HealthCare.gov, a feature the administration wants to make permanent.
Biden is also eager to help more than 2 million low-income people trapped basically in a coverage gap because the states where they live have not expanded Medicaid. Throughout his career, Brooks-LaSure has worked in Medicaid policy, and this program has grown to become a mainstay for many low-income workers.
Part of his portfolio will include reviewing – and modifying or reversing – a number of changes by the Trump administration to health insurance policies. Under Trump, CMS tried to promote the sale of cheaper private insurance that offers less coverage than plans sold under the Affordable Care Act. Many Democrats want restrictions on “short-term” plans that do not cover pre-existing conditions.
But the costs of prescription drugs are likely to be the biggest challenge for Brooks-LaSure, and there he will be in the role of a secondary player.
With Biden’s support, Democrats in Congress want to pass legislation this year that would allow Medicare to negotiate prices with pharmaceutical companies to reduce the high costs Americans face. The Trump administration became entangled with the powerful pharmaceutical industry for four years, but failed to get legislation to curb prices.
Now it’s Biden’s turn, but the path to legislation remains uncertain, especially in the Senate. If the legislative route reaches a dead end, Brooks-LaSure will be tasked with finding ways to use its agency’s regulatory powers to curb prices.
CMS also plays a central role in the nation’s $ 4 trillion healthcare economy. Set Medicare payment rates for hospitals, doctors, labs, and other service providers. Government payments become the basis for private insurers. The agency also sets rules that govern the operation of health care providers.
Among her seasons in government service, Brooks-LaSure was general manager of consulting firm Manatt Health.
Sen. Ron Wyden, D-Ore, who was in charge of her nomination through the Senate, said Brooks-LaSure has done almost everything about health care “other than scrubbing herself. in the operating room “.
She was “committed to working with both parties here in the Senate,” he added.