The U.S. Senate today confirmed President Joe Biden’s selection to lead CMS, Chiquita Brooks-LaSure, with a 55-44 vote in favor.
Brooks-LaSure will be the first Black woman to hold the position, according to Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) on Twitter. She previously served in the U.S. Dept. of Health and Human Services during the Obama administration, during which time she helped to implement the Affordable Care Act, which she will now oversee as the Biden administration seeks to expand it.
“As we recover from the pandemic and build a stronger health care system, [CMS] needs experienced, steady leadership,” HHS Secretary Xavier Becerra wrote in a Tweet. “Chiquita Brooks-LaSure is that leader. Her confirmation as the first Black woman to lead CMS is historic, and I look forward to swearing her in this week.”
According to a report from The Hill, GOP lawmakers had opposed Brooks-LaSure’s nomination after the Biden administration rescinded Texas’ Medicaid waiver that the Trump administration had previously granted, although Brooks-LaSure had no part in the decision to do so as she had not yet been confirmed.
Five Republicans — Missouri’s Roy Blunt, North Carolina’s Richard Burr, Maine’s Susan Collins, Kansas’ Jerry Moran and Alaska’s Lisa Murkowski — joined the Democrats in voting to confirm Brooks-LaSure for the role.
Mark Leahey, President and CEO of the Medical Device Manufacturers Association (MDMA), issued a statement today after Brooks-LaSure was confirmed:
“MDMA congratulates Chiquita Brooks-LaSure on her confirmation as the next CMS Administrator, and we look forward to working with her to accelerate patient access to lifesaving and life-changing medical technologies. Medical technology innovation can save lives and transform the delivery of health care, but only when it is accessible to patients and physicians. Policymakers must continue to work together on targeted bipartisan solutions, such as the MCIT coverage pathway for breakthrough medical devices, that will shorten the gap between regulatory and reimbursement decisions. MDMA will continue to work with the Biden administration and Congress to achieve our shared goal of improving patient care.”