President Joe Biden has chosen Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to run his Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, tasking the experienced health policy staffer with expanding the Affordable Care Act and rolling back Trump-era changes to the Medicare and Medicaid programs.
Brooks-LaSure, a former Health and Human Services Department official who helped lead its work to carry out the ACA, will be entrusted with one of Biden’s top health policy priorities—strengthening and building upon Democrats’ signature health law.
She is seen as uniquely positioned to do so due to her experience as a staff member for the House Ways and Means Committee, where she worked to get the ACA passed, and her subsequent efforts to put the law in place as an official at the HHS and CMS’s Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight.
Brooks-LaSure overlapped in her time working on the House Ways and Means Committee with Biden’s HHS secretary nominee, Xavier Becerra, who was a member of the committee during his time in Congress.
She also was director of coverage policy at the HHS and began her career as a Medicaid analyst at the Office of Management and Budget. She took on a role as co-lead of Biden’s HHS agency review team, and her work there led to her being seen as a top contender for CMS administrator just weeks after the election.
Brooks-LaSure is considered a Democratic health-policy all-star, said Lauren Aronson, who worked with Brooks-LaSure during her time in the Obama administration. She understands politics, policy, and bureaucracy, and she knows “how to work to get things done,” Aronson said.
Biden has committed to building the most diverse administration ever. If confirmed by the Senate, Brooks-LaSure would be the first Black CMS administrator.