Nearly a week after Nikki Haley was appointed the US ambassador to the United Nations, President-elect Donald Trump today nominated a second Indian-American woman to a top administrative position, putting her in charge of a federal agency within the health department as part of a "dream team" which he said would transform America's healthcare system.
"I am pleased to nominate (Dr) Seema Verma to serve as Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services," Trump said in a statement.
The announcement came along with Trump's nomination of Congressman Tom Price as his Health and Human Services Secretary.
Verma, a leading expert in the country on Medicare and Medicaid, would serve as Administrator of Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
"She has decades of experience advising on Medicare and Medicaid policy and helping states navigate our complicated systems. Together, Chairman Price and Seema Verma are the dream team that will transform our healthcare system for the benefit of all Americans," Trump said.
Verma, who met Trump in New York last week, said she is “honoured to be nominated by President-elect Trump today."
"I look forward to helping him tackle our nation's daunting healthcare problems in a responsible and sustainable way," she said.
Her nomination comes days after Indian-American Nikki Haley was named as US envoy to the United Nations by Trump.
Haley had scripted history by becoming the first-ever Indian-American to be appointed to a cabinet-level post in any US administration.
Verma currently is the President, CEO and founder of SVC, Inc, a national health policy consulting company.
Based in Indianapolis, Verma has supported Indiana through development of the historic programme since its inception in 2007, from development of the enabling legislation, negotiating the financing plan with the state's hospital association, developing the federal waiver, supporting federal negotiations and leading the implementation of the programme, including the operational design.
For more than 20 years, she has worked extensively on a variety of policy and strategic projects involving Medicaid, insurance, and public health, working with Governors' offices, state medicaid agencies, state health departments, state departments of insurance, as well as the federal government, private companies and foundations.
"Verma has extensive experience redesigning Medicaid programmes in several states. Verma is the architect of the Healthy Indiana Plan (HIP), the nation's first consumer directed Medicaid programme under Governor Mitch Daniels of Indiana and then-Governor Pence's HIP 2.0 waiver proposal," said the presidential transition team.
Verma received her Master's degree in Public Health, with a concentration in health policy and management from Johns Hopkins University, and her Bachelor's degree in Life Sciences from the University of Maryland.
She served as the state of Indiana's health reform lead following the passage of Obamacare in 2010.
(With PTI inputs)