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Government & Politics

Medicare-Medicaid Administrator Says States Need More Flexibility, But Clinic's Cosgrove Sees Risks

Photo of Seema Verma and Toby Cosgrove
Marlene Harris-Taylor

The head of the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services says the Trump administration wants to move more health insurance decisions from Washington to the state level. 


Nearly 50 percent of people in the U.S. are covered by either Medicare or Medicaid. And the amount of money doctors and hospitals receive for treating those patients is dictated by the federal agency


During a panel discussion at the Innovation Summit, Medicare-Medicaid Administrator Seema Verma said change is needed. There are too many regulations and states shouldn’t have to wait for permission to make routine changes, she said.

We’re not gonna tell states what their priorities are – they’re gonna come and tell us what their priorities are and it’s our job to help them get there,” Verma said.

Cleveland Clinic CEO Toby Cosgrove -- also on the panel -- warned there’s danger in this approach to setting rules and pricing structures.

“I’d love to have the flexibility coming out of Washington. I think one thing we have to be careful of is we don’t want 50 different health care programs across the country,” Cosgrove said.

Cosgrove said people could start moving from one state to another for health care coverage.