New CMS head outlines insurance priorities: 4 takeaways

New CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure has indicated that broadening insurance coverage will be among her top priorities as she leads the trillion-dollar agency within HHS, according to Kaiser Health News.

Ms. Brooks-LaSure discusses her priorities in an interview with KHN, published June 3.

The Senate confirmed Ms. Brooks-LaSure's nomination May 25, and she was sworn in May 27. She is the first Black woman to lead CMS, which manages Medicare, Medicaid and health insurance marketplace programs.

Here are four takeaways from the KHN interview:

1. Ms. Brooks-LaSure told KHN the COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted the importance of insurance coverage, and CMS will focus on "making sure regulations and policies are going to be focused on improving coverage."

2. She also indicated her support of states expanding their Medicaid programs under the ACA, as well as states using an additional temporary financial incentive included in the recent American Rescue Plan toward doing so. Twelve states have not expanded Medicaid.

3. Ms. Brooks-LaSure is keeping an eye on the Medicare Part A trust fund, which finances hospital inpatient care. Budget experts have said the trust fund could become insolvent sooner than projected, possibly as early as 2022, because of the effects of the pandemic.

4. Ms. Brooks-LaSure told KHN, "I hope that we, when we are looking at solvency, really focus on making sure we keep the Medicare program robust. And that may mean some changes that strengthen the program."

To read the full KHN article, click here.

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