Seema Verma, an Indiana health consultant and bureaucrat nominated by President Trump to run Medicare, Medicaid and the Affordable Care Act, put in a word for individual choice on health insurance benefits during her confirmation hearing last week.
The topic, raised by Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D-Mich.), was whether maternity benefits should continue to be mandated for all policies sold under the Affordable Care Act. Verma said the answer is no.
“Some women might want maternity coverage, and some women might not want it or feel that they need it,” Verma said. “I think it’s up to women to make the decision that works best for them.”
With these words, Verma demonstrated either utter ignorance about how health insurance works, or such desperation for this job that she’s willing to profess ignorance and paper it over with conservative shibboleths about “individual choice” and the freedom to make one’s own decision. She deliberately overlooked that prior to the ACA, there was no such freedom, and women were typically not given a practical choice of whether to take maternity benefits or not; they simply weren’t offered.
Either way, she showed herself to be stunningly unqualified to run the nation’s two biggest health insurance programs and oversee the Affordable Care Act marketplaces. (Her formal job title would be administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.) The exchange between Stabenow and Verma from the confirmation hearing before the Senate Finance Committee can be seen below and also viewed here.
You can read the rest at the Los Angeles Times.