Brooks-LaSure confirmed as CMS head

Biden’s pick becomes the first Black leader to head the agency.

The Senate confirmed Chiquita Brooks-LaSure to head the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) March 26 making her the first Black administrator to lead the agency.

The New York Times reports that five Republicans crossed the aisle to support Brooks-LaSure’s confirmation.

Brooks-LaSure previously served as a deputy director in a CMS office that oversaw health insurance markets, but before joining the administration she was already intimately familiar with the Affordable Care Act having worked on crafting parts of it as a health staffer with the House Ways and Means Committee, as previously reported.

Her time with that committee brought her into close contact with the new head of the Department of Health and Human Services Xavier Becerra who sat on that committee at the same time. Becerra was confirmed in an even tighter 50 to 49 vote in March after a contentious debate over his qualifications.

Axios reports that experts are concerned that President Joe R. Biden’s delay in nominating someone to lead the Food and Drug Administration as career staff hold off on making decisions until appointees are chosen or in place.