WASHINGTON — Some healthcare groups are already giving a warm reception to Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, MPP, formally named Friday as President Biden’s nominee to run CMS, the agency in charge of Medicare and Medicaid.
“We applaud President Biden for choosing as leader of CMS someone [who] understands what people need from our health care system, and what needs to change in order to make it more equitable for people across the country,” said Emily Stewart, executive director of the health advocacy group Community Catalyst, in a statement. “Chiquita Brooks-LaSure brings the depth and breadth of policy and management experience the role requires, as evidenced by her work at CMS during the Obama administration and before that in Congress. We are eager to support her efforts to make Medicare and Medicaid work better for all people, and hope the Senate will move swiftly to confirm her appointment.”
“America’s hospitals and health systems applaud the nomination of Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to serve as the next administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services,” said Rick Pollack, president and CEO of the American Hospital Association, in a statement. “Her previous experiences as a senior CMS and HHS official who helped implement the Affordable Care Act and her work on the House Ways and Means Committee gives her a deep understanding of the importance of health care coverage and protections for consumers. She is well equipped to lead CMS and we look forward to working with her to defeat the COVID-19 pandemic and advance the health of all our patients and communities.”
The Federation of American Hospitals (FAH), which represents tax-paying facilities, also was enthusiastic, with president and CEO Chip Kahn saying in a statement that “there is no better person to lead CMS during this pivotal time” than Brooks-LaSure. “Her past roles at CMS, HHS, and on Capitol Hill make her uniquely qualified to step in and have an immediate impact.” The Association of American Medical Colleges praised Brooks-LaSure’s “detailed understanding of Medicare, Medicaid, and the ACA, as well as her commitment to health equity.”
After much speculation had already appeared in the press, Biden announced Brooks-LaSure’s nomination on Friday morning, praising her 20 years of experience in health policy. Brooks-LaSure, who is currently managing director at Manatt Health, a New York City-based professional services firm, “played a key role in guiding the Affordable Care Act (ACA) through passage and implementation” during her time with the Democratic staff of the House Ways and Means Committee, the White House noted.
She also previously served as deputy director for policy at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight within CMS and worked as director of coverage policy at HHS, where she led the agency’s implementation of ACA coverage and insurance reform policy provisions.
Brooks-LaSure began her career as a program examiner and lead Medicaid analyst for the Office of Management and Budget, coordinating Medicaid policy development for the health financing branch, according to her biography on the Manatt website. Her role included evaluating policy options and briefing White House and federal agency officials on policy recommendations with regard to the uninsured, Medicaid, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. President Biden has already moved to start reversing work requirements that the Trump administration had encouraged state Medicaid programs to adopt; Brooks-LaSure is expected to continue that work.
Brooks-LaSure, who is already based in Washington, has a Bachelor’s in politics from Princeton University and a Master’s in public policy from Georgetown University.
Last Updated February 19, 2021