New CMS Leader

New Leadership

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure would be the first Black woman to head CMS. CMS administers Medicare, Medicaid, children’s health insurance and the Affordable Care Act, better known as “Obamacare.” The programs cover more than 130 million people, from newborns to nursing home residents. Brooks-LaSure was previously deputy director at CMS responsible for insurance markets during the Obama administration.

CMS oversees government health insurance programs. These programs cover more than 1 out of 3 Americans. The CMS administrator oversees coverage for roughly 150 million people enrolled in Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act.

The post has broad responsibility over the $4 trillion-per-year health care industry. The agency has already begun erasing Trump’s detrimental changes to insurance markets. It’s overseeing a new special enrollment period for the uninsured during the pandemic.

Expanding Medicaid

Medicaid, the half-century-old health insurance program for the poor and people with disabilities, and the related Children’s Health Insurance Program cover more than 70 million Americans, including nearly half the nation’s children. Enrollment increased under the ACA which provides hundreds of billions of dollars to states to expand eligibility to low-income, working-age adults.

The Biden Administration hopes to expand Medicaid to extend health protections to uninsured Americans. 12 states rejected federal funding offered by the Affordable Care Act. Unfortunately, any expansion would need Republicans to accept the 2010 health law, often called Obamacare. Medicaid expansion is broadly popular with voters.

Some 1.5 million Texans are shut out of Medicaid because the state has resisted expansion. An additional 800,000 people are locked out in Florida. Two million more are caught in the 10 remaining holdouts: Alabama, Georgia, Kansas, Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, South Dakota, Tennessee, Wisconsin and Wyoming.