Skip to content

Chiquita Brooks-LaSure Confirmed as Next CMS Administrator

Brooks-LaSure was confirmed by the Senate as the next CMS administrator, making her the first Black woman to lead the agency


June 2, 2021 – Chiquita Brooks-LaSure was confirmed by the Senate as the new CMS Administrator. She was confirmed as the new CMS leader in a narrow vote of 55 to 44.

The confirmation makes Chiquita Brooks-LaSure the first Black woman to lead the agency. She will be overseeing Medicaid, Medicare, and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).

Brooks-LaSure has strong credentials and is not new to CMS. She served as the deputy director for policy at the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight for the agency. She was also the director of coverage policy for HHS. There she led the implementation of the Affordable Care Act.

After her time in the public sector, Brooks-LaSure became managing director of Manatt Health. She has worked this role up until her Senate confirmation.

Challenges Await New CMS Administrator

As the new CMS Administrator, Brooks-LaSure has some unique challenges awaiting her. The first is how to navigate healthcare in a post-pandemic world. Particularly, how health inequity and disparities have become even worse in the wake of COVID-19.

This is a challenge that Brooks-LaSure readily accepts. In an interview with PatientEngagementHIT last year, the new CMS Administrator advocated for health equity.

“One of the biggest issues is really the focus is continuity of coverage,” she said in the interview. “Because if you think about what happens when you add another person to your family, your income changes automatically.”

At her Senate confirmation hearing, she noted her strong vision for leading the agency forward.

“During my career, I’ve seen how communities of color too often experience worse health outcomes, which we’ve seen so acutely during this pandemic,” she said at her Senate confirmation hearing. “Last year in April, my own hometown, a predominately black community where my parents still live, experienced higher rates of COVID-19 infections and deaths compared to much of the surrounding communities. If confirmed, I look forward to working with each of you to expand access to quality care for all communities.”

In addition the health equity, the new CMS Administrator faces other major issues. These include telehealth reimbursement, Medicaid waivers, whether Medicare eligibility age should be lowered, and prescription drug pricing legislation.

Brooks-LaSure Receives Strong Support in New Role

While the confirmation vote was narrow, Brooks-LaSure has long had the support of the healthcare industry.

The American Hospital Association (AHA) voiced its support for Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. AHA touted her prior experience when vouching for the then CMS Administrator nominee.


Chip Kahn, president and CEO of the Federation of American Hospitals (FAH) also congratulated the new CMS Administrator.

“We congratulate Ms. Brooks-LaSure on her historic confirmation,” he said in a statement. “While the fight against COVID is not over, as the pandemic winds down we need to move forward on the broader health care agenda and I am confident our new Administrator is exceptionally equipped to provide the leadership that is crucial for CMS at this time and beyond.”

At her swearing-in ceremony, U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Xavier Becerra bestowed further praise.

“Chiquita Brooks-LaSure’s historic appointment and confirmation as the first Black woman to lead the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services further demonstrates the Biden-Harris Administration’s commitment to bringing diverse perspectives and seasoned leaders to drive and improve the U.S. health care system,” said HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra. “Chiquita, an expert in health care policy and a veteran of CMS, will be a trusted steward of our nation’s health insurance programs and a critical partner as we tackle the nation’s health care challenges. I look forward to working with Chiquita to strengthen Medicaid, better serve our seniors, expand health coverage, and address the glaring health inequities in communities across the country.”

The VBP Blog is a comprehensive resource for all things related to value-based payments. Up-to-date news, informative webinars, and relevant blogs in the VBP sphere to help your organization find success. 

More Trending Topics:

Get even more VBP insights on LinkedIn & Twitter

Subscribe here to receive the blogs straight to your inbox

The VBP Blog is a comprehensive resource for all things related to value-based payments. Up-to-date news, informative webinars, and relevant blogs in the VBP sphere to help your organization find success.