Oppose Seema Verma for CMS Administrator

Donald Trump has nominated Seema Verma to lead the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services (abbreviated “CMS,” with only one “M”). This critical agency manages federal health insurance programs and healthcare regulations, including Medicare, Medicaid, the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), and the Affordable Care Act. Verma holds extreme positions on healthcare that would raise insurance costs for women and cap Medicaid benefits.

Aside from Verma’s extreme political positions, she lacks the experience to run CMS, an agency that accounts for one-quarter of the federal government’s entire budget. Verma is unfit to run such an important organization overseeing health coverage for well over 100 million people. 

Sample Call Dialogue 

Caller: Good morning! Can you tell me the Senator’s position on the nomination of Seema Verma for CMS Administrator?

OPTION 1: HAS STATED OPPOSITION FOR THE NOMINATION

  • Staffer: Thank you for calling! Senator Janet opposes Seema Verma’s nomination.

    Caller: That’s great! I’m calling to say that if Senator Janet truly believes, as I do, that we must protect the historic gains made by the Affordable Care Act, she should do everything she can to encourage her colleagues to vote no on Verma’s nomination. Will Senator Janet do everything she can to stop the Trump Administration, his healthcare leadership, and the Congress from dismantling the ACA? Will the Senator stand firm against so-called“replacement” packages that do not meet the standards for coverage, comprehensiveness, and protection that were in place prior to the seating of the current Congress?

    Staffer: Yes, Senator Janet is proud of her work ensuring that Americans can access and afford the healthcare they need. She’ll vote against any “Repeal and Replace” bills that come before the Senate.

    Caller: Wonderful. This is extremely important to me and I will be watching closely.  Thank you for your time.

OPTION 2: SUPPORTS VERMA’S NOMINATION

  • Staffer: Thank you for calling! Senator Janet will be supporting Seema Verma’s nomination. 

    Caller: That’s terrible. What that means is Senator Janet is choosing to make healthcare more expensive for women [like me], older Americans [like me], and middle class Americans [like me]. Verma is primarily known for being the architect of the “Healthy Indiana” plan, which requires the use of Health Savings Accounts, a special account that helps rich people avoid paying taxes but does very little for low- and moderate-income Americans who struggle to save up for rent, never mind healthcare. Verma supports capping Medicaid funding for states, which would make massive cuts to the program and reduce coverage for millions of Americans. Verma even said she didn’t think basic maternity care should be required in insurance plans. Instead, she supports allowing plans to charge women more to add on maternity care.

    Staffer: Obamacare is too expensive, and Senator Janet’s constituents want it overturned.

    Caller: That’s wrong. It’s clear that Senator Janet isn’t listening to constituents like me. Many of us in [our state] know that if the Affordable Care Act is overturned, it will take us back to the days when women and those with pre-existing conditions had to pay more for care – or not get insurance at all. In some places, you could not even get a plan that covered maternity care, no matter how much money you had. Even if we disagree on healthcare, Verma is not experienced enough to run CMS. Verma has no experience with Medicare, for example, which covers 55 million older Americans. Verma also has no experience running a large organization, while CMS has thousands of employees and controls programs that account for one-quarter of the entire federal budget.

OPTION 3: DODGES / HAS NO POSITION

  • Staffer: Thank you for calling! I have no idea what the Senator’s position on this is, but I’m happy to take down your concerns.

    Caller: That’s disappointing to hear – CMS oversees the coverage of well over 100 million people and I would expect Senator Janet to have a clear position on person nominated to head it. If Verma is confirmed, she will spearhead the effort to make healthcare more expensive for women [like me], older Americans [like me], and middle class Americans [like me]. Verma is primarily known for being the architect of the “Healthy Indiana” plan, which requires the use of Health Savings Accounts, a special account that helps rich people avoid paying taxes but does very little for low- and moderate-income Americans who struggle to save up for rent, never mind healthcare. Verma supports capping Medicaid funding for states, which would make massive cuts to the program and reduce coverage for millions of Americans. Verma even said she didn’t think basic maternity care should be required in insurance plans. Instead, she supports allowing plans to charge women more to add on maternity care.

    Staffer: I didn’t know that, but I’m happy to take down your concerns.

    Caller: Here’s my concern: even if we disagree on healthcare, Verma is not experienced enough to run CMS. Verma has no experience with Medicare, for example, which covers 55 million older Americans. Verma also has no experience running a large organization, while CMS has thousands of employees and controls programs that account for one-quarter of the entire federal budget. I expect Senator Janet to commit to opposing Seema Verma’s nomination.

    Will Senator Janet protect her constituents by opposing Verma?

    Staffer: I will certainly pass on your concerns to the Senator.

    Caller: Please do, and please take down my contact information to let me know when the Senator has made up her mind. I’m eager to hear what she decides.

ScriptsCaroline Kavit