Gottlieb Nominated for FDA Commissioner; Senate Confirms Verma to Lead CMS

March 19, 2017

Leadership of key federal departments and agencies with oversight of issues of importance to California’s life sciences sector continue to take shape under the new Trump Administration with the recent confirmation of Ms. Seema Verma as head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), and with the nomination of Dr. Scott Gottlieb to lead the Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

Verma Confirmed as CMS Administrator

On March 13, by a vote of 55 to 43, the U.S. Senate confirmed Verma as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services. Administrator Verma, who previously served as founder and CEO of SVC, Inc., a health policy consulting firm, has extensive experience in the Medicaid space having worked closely with former Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels (R) and Vice President Mike Pence on the “Healthy Indiana” insurance coverage reforms and Medicaid expansion. In addition, Verma was involved in Iowa’s move to enact Medicaid managed care and helped craft Kentucky Governor Matt Bevin’s (R) Medicaid expansion waiver. Verma is the first CMS administrator to gain Senate confirmation since Marilyn Tavenner in May 2013. Tavenner served in the role for approximately two years and was replaced by Andy Slavitt, who held the position on an acting basis until the end of the Obama administration.

Gottlieb Nominated to lead FDA

On March 10, the President announced his intention to nominate Scott Gottlieb to be commissioner of the FDA.

Dr. Gottlieb was FDA’s deputy commissioner for medical and scientific affairs from 2005 to 2007, and chief policy adviser to the CMS administrator in 2004, during implementation of Medicare Part D. Earlier he was a senior adviser and director of medical policy development at FDA, where he worked on issues like orphan drugs, and combination products. Gottlieb has long been a resident fellow at the right-leaning American Enterprise Institute. He also serves on the Federal Health IT Policy Committee, which makes recommendations to HHS’s Office for Healthcare Information Technology, and practices medicine at New York University where he is also a clinical assistant professor. His confirmation hearing has not yet been scheduled.

Questions? Please contact Jenny Carey, CLSA’s Vice President of Federal Government Relations and Alliance Development (