With more than 140 million Americans receiving health care coverage through Medicare and Medicaid, the programs have long been a focus of U.S. policy debates. And these discussions have only been amplified during the COVID-19 era, as elderly and low-income populations have been significantly impacted. Moving forward, what will Medicare and Medicaid look like? Will policies rolled-out during the pandemic, such as greater flexibility around telehealth services and more streamlined reporting from nursing homes, be expanded upon? How can the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), the nation’s largest healthcare purchaser, lead the way in transforming our healthcare system into one that delivers optimal care and value through innovation? On October 7, CMS Administrator Seema Verma joined Alan Weil, Editor-in-Chief of Health Affairs, for an Aspen Ideas: Health 20/20 conversation to discuss the current challenges and future opportunities for Medicare and Medicaid.
About the Speakers
Seema Verma, As the Administrator of CMS, oversees a $1 trillion budget, representing about a quarter of the total federal budget, administers health coverage programs for more than 140 million Americans and oversees the quality and safety of all hospitals participating in Medicare. Nominated by President Trump in November 2016 and confirmed by the US Senate in March 2017, she is one of the longest serving Administrators in modern history. The Administrator has set a bold agenda to empower patients and transform the healthcare system to deliver better value and results for patients through competition and innovation. CMS has focused all of its efforts on 16 strategic initiatives across Medicare, Medicaid and the Exchanges to move the healthcare delivery system toward value. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland and holds a Master’s degree in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University. Modern Healthcare ranked her as the number one most influential person in healthcare in 2019.
Alan Weil is editor in chief of Health Affairs, a leading American health policy journal, and directs the Aspen Institute’s Health Strategy Group. Previously, he was executive director of the National Academy for State Health Policy; directed the Urban Institute’s Assessing the New Federalism project; held a cabinet position as executive director of the Colorado Department of Health Care Policy and Financing, the state’s Medicaid agency; and was assistant general counsel in the Massachusetts Department of Medical Security. Weil is an elected member of the National Academy of Medicine, an appointed member of the Medicaid and CHIP Payment and Access Commission, and a trustee of the Consumer Health Foundation.