MedWatch Today / YouTube Medicare amp Medicaid Services Administrator Seema 1575845725.jpg...
MedWatch Today / YouTube

President Donald Trump’s official in charge of Medicare and Medicaid, Seema Verma, came under fire after Politico reported Saturday that she submitted a $47,000 claim for reimbursement on the taxpayers’ dime for stolen, uninsured items items.

The bulk of the claim—for which the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) ultimately reimbursed her $2,852.40—was for roughly $43,000 worth of jewelry. Among the roughly two dozen pieces was an Ivanka Trump brand pendant whose estimated value was $5,900, according to documents obtained by Politico. A $325 claim for moisturizer was also among the items included.

The theft reportedly took place in July of 2018 in San Francisco when Verma’s luggage was stolen from a rented SUV as she delivered a speech in which she bashed Medicare for All and the Affordable Care Act.

An HHS spokesperson told Politico that submitting a claim while on work travel “is not an unusual practice for federal employees,” though items “inherently” for non-work uses would not be covered.

“Staff were unaware of a federal health employee previously filing a claim as large as $47,000,” the news outlet added.

The attempt at reimbursement for the apparent luxury items from an official who’s repeatedly attacked the key safety net programs drew condemnation from former head of the Office of Government Ethics Walter Shaub.

“Verma is worried about wasting government money on ‘unnecessary’ medical care for poor people, but she wants the government to reimburse her for $47,000 worth of jewels and clothes she took on a government trip,” Shaub tweeted Sunday.

Robert Maguire, research director at watchdog group CREW, suggested Verma’s move was more evidence of Trump’s betrayal of his campaign vow to “drain the swamp” of Washington corruption.

During the July 2018 speech at the Commonwealth Club, Verma said, “Medicare for all would become Medicare for none” and suggested it would be “bad health policy” to have a single-payer healthcare system that covered everyone in the country at a lower cost.

Verma left no room for doubt about her opinions of switching away for the current for-profit system four months later when she called Medicare for All “a bad idea” and “scary.”

And Verma followed up with similar attacks this year. As Common Dreams reported, she said in April, contrary to a number of studies, that Medicare for All proposals such as Sen. Bernie Sanders’s would mean worse health outcomes at a higher cost for Americans. In an op-ed published last week at Fox Business, she called Medicare for All a “foolish” plan that would “ruin the program for everyone.”

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services administrator has also attacked Medicaid, including by pushing work requirements and so-called block grant programs. Rebecca Vallas, vice president for the Center for American Progress’s Poverty to Prosperity Program, said previously, “Make no mistake: people will die if Medicaid block grants take effect.” Physicians for a National Health Program president Robert Zarr previously criticized Verma as “the architect of Indiana’s punitive restrictions on Medicaid patients.”

More recent reporting on Verma has focused on the supposed “bad blood” between her and HHS Secretary Alex Azar, and her hiring of Trump allies as consultants, to the tune of $2.5 million, in order to boost her image.

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This is a Creative Commons article. The original version of this article appeared here.

8 COMMENTS

  1. There’s another one of the best people that are stealing from the taxpayers. How many more of this corrupt administration will pop up. The list keeps on growing

    • I can’t think of anybody in the sTrumpet administration who isn’t crooked or incredibly stupid. She probably sold the jewelry herself.

  2. If she is stupid enough to leave $47,000 worth (?) of her personal jewelry, I refuse to cover even one trillionth of cent of it. Besides, do we really want people that stupid working for us. If I were the president, I wouldn’t even give her a wooden sou.

  3. This os unheard of. Like Ivanka has jewelry worth $5900 in her collection.$300.00 lotion? In a suitcase, in a rental car? Must be the same lotion Pruitt had to have his security detail drive around D.C. to find. But let anyone request their medications be covered by medicare or approval for a 2nd opinion, that would b a waste of taxpayers dollars. Why should taxpayers have to pay for this and not her private car insurance or rental car insurance. What other job would cover your loss from a car you rented?

  4. When does this crap stop?
    . Trump’s (best people ) stealing the public blind, and nothing from the Trump administration.
    Spending hundreds of thousands of dollars ,
    trying to get dirt on Hunter Biden . But blind to his family, his staff and cabinet , robbing the country blind .
    Everyone on Trumps staff and family
    are blatant thieves . Most ,that have been
    fired ,also thieves, lier’s , cheaters!

  5. Yeah this broad is in a tiff over someone she’s supposed to work with. Some guy can’t remember name is having a fit trying to work around her cause she’s being a witch.

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