Seema Verma, Trump’s Pick To Head CMS, Grilled About High Drug Prices

Members of the Senate Finance Committee yesterday questioned President Trump’s pick to head CMS over what she plans to do about a subject that’s on everybody’s mind: high drug prices. Trump wants CMS to step in and negotiate drug prices for Medicare Part D plans, and the need to get those costs under control is one issue that all sides of the political spectrum seems to agree on. Verma danced around the subject, as STAT reports, not actually saying that she’d like to see the sort of government negotiating leverage over drug prices similar to what’s allowed by the Department of Veterans Affairs.   

According to STAT, she told legislators: “I think that competition is the key to getting good prices. I don’t think that’s a simple yes or no answer, because I think there are many ways to achieve that goal. … If we look at the Part D program and the way the PBMs have negotiated this, we know that when there’s a lot of competition, the price goes down.”

Verma, 46, is CEO and founder of SVC, a national health policy consulting company. Verma helped develop the report, “A New Medicaid: A Flexible, Innovation and Accountable Future,” that was presented to the Republican Governor’s Public Policy Committee on Medicaid reform in 2011.

Source: STAT