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Mayhew leaves CMS, heads to Florida's health department

After a very brief tenure with the Trump administration, CMS’ chief Medicaid deputy Mary Mayhew has resigned to return to the state-level work in Florida under new GOP Gov. Ron DeSantis.

Mayhew was Maine’s top health official under former GOP Gov. Paul LePage, who prompted controversy and litigation when he refused to expand Medicaid after voters approved the program through a ballot initiative. Mayhew also opposed expansion and lost a primary bid to replace LePage as governor.

In a statement on Friday, Mayhew emphasized the Trump administration’s focus on giving states “increased control” over their Medicaid programs and said that is a key point in taking another state position.

“It is this vision for state flexibility that excites me about returning to the state level to help Governor-elect DeSantis partner with Administrator Verma to serve the citizens of Florida,” Mayhew said in a statement Friday.

Her Florida appointment shows a sharp turn from where the healthcare industry and advocates hoped the state would head in terms of Medicaid mere months ago. DeSantis’ Democratic opponent Andrew Gillum ran on expanding the program to an estimated 662,000 Floridians.

Mayhew was appointed director of the CMS Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services in October.

“We will miss her, but I am excited for Mary as she transitions to serve Governor-elect DeSantis and the people of Florida,” CMS Administrator Seema Verma said in the statement announcing Mayhew’s resignation. “I appreciate her efforts at CMS and I look forward to continuing to work with her as she uses her many talents to help the state of Florida create a healthcare system that serves the needs of its citizens.”