Biden to Tap Brooks-LaSure for Medicare-Medicaid Post

The Obama administration veteran previously worked on the House Ways and Means staff.

President Joe Biden will nominate Chiquita Brooks-LaSure as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, the agency charged with implementing the heart of the Affordable Care Act, according to several published reports. Her selection was first reported by The Washington Post.

Brooks-LaSure worked to implement the ACA during a stint with the Obama administration and, if confirmed, could be charged with unraveling the Trump administration’s efforts to dismantle it. Most recently, she has been a consultant to state governments through Manatt Health.

According to her Manatt Health bio, Brooks-LaSure started her career as a program examiner and lead Medicaid analyst for the Office of Management and Budget. She evaluated policy options and briefed White House and federal agency officials on policy recommendations with regard to the uninsured, Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program. She is a graduate of Princeton, with a master’s in public policy from Georgetown.

Before joining HHS during the Obama administration, Brooks-LaSure was a staff member for the House Ways and Means Committee, which is expected to revisit the subsidies for those eligible for them under the ACA for the first time since the law took effect.

Of note, POLITICO reported that Brooks-LaSure is a known quantity to Biden’s nominee for HHS Secretary, Xavier Becerra, who has been California’s Attorney General but previously served in the House of Representatives. During the Trump administration, feuds between then-HHS Secretary Alex Azar and CMS Administrator Seema Verma spilled into public.

CMS has an outsized role in shaping the national healthcare landscape. The agency sets policies and reimbursement criteria that act as starting points across the industry. The ACA’s creation of the Center for Medicare and Medicaid Innovation helped spearhead the shift away from the fee-for-service environment that dominated healthcare for decades; over the past decade, healthcare has seen more experimentation with value-based payment and delivery models.

Medicare’s decision to pay for telemedicine early on in the coronavirus disease 2019 pandemic also caused this method of healthcare service to explode after years of limits on its use.