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Indian-American Seema Verma sworn-in as Head of a key healthcare agency in Donald Trump administration

Indian-American Seema Verma was sworn in on Tuesday by US Vice President Mike Pence as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services

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Washington, March 15, 2017: Indian-American Seema Verma has been sworn-in as the head of a key healthcare agency in the Donald Trump administration.

Verma was sworn in on Tuesday by US Vice President Mike Pence as administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which are part of the Department of Health and Human Services, PBS NewsHour reported.

The $1 trillion agency oversees health insurance programmes for everyone from nursing home residents to newborns.

“President Donald Trump has chosen one of the leading experts in America on state-based healthcare solutions to lead this important agency,” Vice President Pence said at the swearing-in ceremony at the White House.

“The President has asked you to bring your expertise to DC,” Pence said, adding: “We’re confident that you’ll help restore healthcare decision making to the states, and in the process help make the best healthcare system in the world even better.”

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Verma is the second Indian-American to be inducted into the Trump administration.

US Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley was the first cabinet rank official from the community to serve in any presidential administration.

“Today, our healthcare stands at a crossroads, and we have no choice but to reform it,” she said.

The Senate confirmed her nomination on Monday by a vote of 55-43, largely along party lines.

Verma is taking over the agency as a Republican healthcare bill moving through the House has reopened the debate over the government’s role in healthcare.

Verma is an Indiana healthcare consultant and protege of Pence, who is a former Indiana governor.

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The American Association of Physicians of Indian Origin (AAPI) which represents more than 60,000 physicians, welcomed Verma’s appointment, reported New India Times newspaper.

Ajay Lodha, President of AAPI, lauded Verma’s accomplishments in Indiana, and said he hoped that the problems faced by patients under the Medicare drug plan would be resolved under her leadership.

“Drug coverage has gone down and for patients under Medicare who are all above 65, and not healthy and needed medications — I hope she can do something for them.” Lodha said.

When Trump announced in November that he was appointing Verma for the post, he said that she would be part of “the dream team that will transform our healthcare system for the benefit of all Americans”.

Her role will extend beyond the insurance programmes — Medicare for senior citizens and Medicaid for the poor — to helping craft and implement the Republican healthcare reform plan to replace Obamacare.

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“She has decades of experience advising on Medicare and Medicaid policy and helping states navigate our complicated systems,” Trump had said. (IANS)

 

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USA: Everything you want to know about Security Clearance; Find out here!

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas.

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Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA
Former CIA Director John O. Brennan speaks at the Council on Foreign Relations in Washington, March 11, 2014. President Donald Trump revoked Brennan's security clearance Wednesday. VOA

U.S. President Donald Trump on Wednesday revoked the security clearance of former CIA Director John Brennan. We take a look at what that means.

What is a security clearance?

A security clearance allows a person access to classified national security information or restricted areas after completion of a background check. The clearance by itself does not guarantee unlimited access. The agency seeking the clearance must determine what specific area of information the person needs to access.

What are the different levels of security clearance?

There are three levels: Confidential, secret and top secret. Security clearances don’t expire. But, top secret clearances are reinvestigated every five years, secret clearances every 10 years and confidential clearances every 15 years.

All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA
All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance. VOA

Who has security clearances?

According to a Government Accountability Office report released last year, about 4.2 million people had a security clearance as of 2015, they included military personnel, civil servants, and government contractors.

Why does one need a security clearance in retirement?

Retired senior intelligence officials and military officers need their security clearances in case they are called to consult on sensitive issues.

Also Read: Governments Across The World Request Apple for 30,000 Device Information

Can the president revoke a security clearance?

Apparently. But there is no precedent for a president revoking someone’s security clearance. A security clearance is usually revoked by the agency that sought it for an employee or contractor. All federal agencies follow a list of 13 potential justifications for revoking or denying a clearance, which can include criminal acts, lack of allegiance to the United States, behavior or situation that could compromise an individual and security violations. (VOA)