Biden Administration’s Potential Candidates for HHS, CMS

As a new president takes office, new healthcare advisors and officials will follow. The Biden Administration is expected to adopt new policies focusing on the Affordable Care Act and Medicaid. With reform on the United States’ healthcare approaching, so is a new team to combat former health policies administered under Trump.

Biden is putting the Covid-19 at the top of his to-do list and relaying back the focus to science and research as his solution. In his approach, democrat advisors announced Biden will elect a group of new doctors to top appointee slots, according to a Washington Post report. Here is a preview of potential candidates, many of which were working under the Obama administration, that could be appointed as HHS secretary and CMS administrator.

Christen Linke Young

Young was active in the Obama administration for eight years and in the implementation of the ACA. She played other roles such as the White House’s senior policy adviser for health, principal deputy director in CMS, and the director of coverage policy in the HHS’ Office of Health Reform. Also, she is now a fellow with the USC-Brookings Schaeffer for Health Policy, conducting research focusing on health insurance coverage.

Ezekiel Emanuel

A health policy advisor in the Office of Management and Budget under the Obama administration, a generator of the ACA, and now recently a member of Biden’s COVID-19 task force, Emmanuel is surely a qualified potential appointee. He served as a health advisor to Biden’s campaign and chaired the Department of Bioethics at the National Institutes of Health for 14 years.

 Andrea Palm

Fighting through the Republican-controlled Wisconsin legislature stalling her official appointment, Palm has still managed to control the state’s rising Covid-19 cases by enacting strict lockdowns which were later overturned by the Legislature.

 Palm is Secretary-designee of Wisconsin’s health department, served as the chief of staff for HHS from 2013-2014, and worked as a senior adviser to the HHS secretary and White House policy adviser under Obama.

 Michelle Lujan Grisham

Lujan Grisham became the first Democratic woman elected governor of New Mexico in 2018 after serving three terms as a U.S. congresswoman. Nearly a quarter of the bills she sponsored focused on health, according to GovTrack, during her time in Congress.

Lujan Grisham also served as New Mexico’s secretary of health from 2004-2007. As governor, she has received praise from public health experts and Democrats for her handling of the coronavirus pandemic, with aggressive preventive measures early on.

Lujan Grisham authorized a study on implementing a public option at the state level, alongside Biden’s push for the plan nationally, according to Politico.

 Kavita Patel

Patel has upheld positions such as deputy staff director on health to the late Sen. Edward Kennedy, D-Mass., a director of policy in the White House under Obama, and took part in the senior staff of the Health, Education, Labor, and Pensions Committee.

Patel is currently a fellow at the Brookings Institution, a member of a committee advising HHS on physician-focused payment models, and an advisor to the Bipartisan Policy Center.

 Rebekah Gee

Gee was the Louisiana’s top health official from 2016 to 2020, having part in the state’s largest agency with a budget of $14 billion. While secretary, Gee also had part in the state’s Medicaid expansion, which extended the safety-net insurance coverage to more than 500,000 Louisianans.

Previously, she was the state’s Medicaid medical director and the director for the Louisiana Birth Outcomes Initiative, a statewide effort to improve birth outcomes. Currently, Gee is CEO of LSU Health New Orleans’ Health Care Services Division.

Gilead granted Louisiana a five-year license for an unlimited supply of a hepatitis C drug to treat Medicaid members and the prison population in exchange for $60 million a year under her role as Louisiana’s health chief.

 Karen Bass

As one of California’s Democratic representatives, she has supported “Medicare for All” and universal healthcare that could steer her support from the liberal wing side for her potential appointment but threaten Senate’s confirmation. Prior, she was a physician assistant before entering into her government role. Bass served as a congresswoman since 2011 and was California’s state assembly for six years. Currently, she is named leader of the Congressional Black Caucus.

Vivek Murthy

Before joining the government, Murthy was an attending physician, instructor at Brigham and Woman’s Hospital, and a surgeon general under the Obama administration. He was chairperson of the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council. He was tapped to serve on the board of doctors advising Biden on COVID-19 earlier this year, and has already been selected as a co-chair of Biden’s official pandemic task force.

Murthy served as surgeon general during the Obama administration, and was the chairperson of the National Prevention, Health Promotion and Public Health Council. He was tapped to serve on the board of doctors advising Biden on COVID-19 earlier this year. Also, he has already been selected as a co-chair of Biden’s official pandemic task force.

 

 The United States’ healthcare is seldom to expect any drastic changes to current policies, considering a highly-likely split between Congress. Yet, the new appointees filling the top official roles in the HHS, CMS, and health advisor positions is a productive start.

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