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Trump picks Indian-American consultant, Obamacare critic to overhaul healthcare

President-elect Donald Trump on Tuesday named a vociferous Obamacare critic and an Indiana policy consultant to help him overhaul the U.S. healthcare system.

world Updated: Nov 29, 2016 19:01 IST
Yashwant Raj
Yashwant Raj
Hindustan Times
Seema Verma,Donald Trump,US ambassador
Seema Verma, president and founder of SVC Inc., gets into an elevator as she arrives at Trump Tower, on November 22 in New York City. (AFP)

President-elect Donald Trump has tapped another Indian-American for a senior position on his team, naming Seema Verma the administrator of the Centers of Medicare and Medicaid Services on Tuesday.

He also named Congressman Tom Price secretary of health and human services, who will be tasked with dismantling Obamacare, which Trump had wanted to repeal in full but has indicated he may retain portions of it.

Verma’s appointment makes her the second Indian-American in a senior position in the Trump team after South Carolina governor Nikki Haley, who has been named US ambassador to the United Nations, a cabinet-rank position.

“I am pleased to nominate Seema Verma to serve as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services,” Trump said in a statement, adding: “She has decades of experience advising on Medicare and Medicaid policy and helping states navigate our complicated systems. Together, Chairman Price and Seema Verma are the dream team that will transform our healthcare system for the benefit of all Americans.”

Read: Story of Nikki Haley, the Indian-American in Team Trump

Verma said in the same announcement: ““I am honored to be nominated by President-elect Trump today. I look forward to helping him tackle our nation’s daunting healthcare problems in a responsible and sustainable way.”

Verma worked with healthcare reform in Indiana with Governor Mike Pence, who is now vice president-elect.

Verma is currently the president, CEO and founder of SVC, Inc., a national health policy consulting company. She has worked extensively on a variety of policy and strategic projects involving Medicaid, insurance, and public health, working with Governors’ offices, State Medicaid agencies, State Health Departments, State Departments of Insurance, as well as the federal government, private companies and foundations, according to the announcement from the Trump transition team.

She is credited with redesigning Medicaid programmes in several states, and the statement called her “the architect” of the Healthy Indiana Plan, the nation’s first consumer directed Medicaid program.

Verma was Indiana’s health reform lead following the passage of Obamacare in 2010.

Verma did Master’s in Public Health from Johns Hopkins University, and got her Bachelor’s degree in Life Sciences from the University of Maryland.

First Published: Nov 29, 2016 18:50 IST