Seema Verma, Donald Trump’s head of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, has expensive and tacky tastes, in addition to a penchant for making the lives of poor people as miserable as possible.
We know the latter because throughout her entire career in the healthcare industry as well as her tenure at CMS, Verma has attempted (and succeeded) in instituting everything from work requirements for people on Medicaid at the request of largely Republican-led states—a move that the Obama administration denied whenever states attempted it—to, while working with then-Governor Mike Pence of Indiana, forcing everyone on Medicaid to pay monthly premiums, with the very poorest people receiving shittier health care coverage as a result. As the head of CMS, Verma has railed against the Affordable Care Act while doing her best to make it harder for people to enroll, championed the aforementioned work requirements for Medicaid recipients, and derided Medicare for All as a “scary” and “bad” idea that would “strip choice away from millions” and “bankrupt future generations.” In short, she’s a Republican talking point come to life.
But let’s talk about Verma’s shitty personal tastes for a moment, which we got a glimpse into when Politico reported this past weekend that Verma had filed a whopping $47,000 claim for items that were stolen from her while on a work trip in 2018, during which she gave a speech attacking Medicare for All.
The items, which were taken from her rental car, include everything from what is probably this hideous necklace from Ivanka Trump’s jewelry line to a $325 moisturizer:
Verma’s claim included $43,065 for about two dozen pieces of jewelry, based off an appraisal she’d received from a jeweler about three weeks after the theft. Among Verma’s stolen jewelry was an Ivanka Trump-brand pendant, made of gold, prasiolite and diamonds, that Verma’s jeweler valued at $5,900.
Verma’s claim also included about $2,000 to cover the cost of her stolen clothes and another $2,000 to cover the cost of other stolen goods, including a $325 claim for moisturizer and a $349 claim for noise-cancelling headphones.
According to Politico, CMS staff were “unaware of a federal health employee previously filing a claim as large as $47,000,” and Verma ultimately received a $2,852.40 reimbursement. Unfortunately for Verma, lost jewelry is not reimbursable, and the Ivanka Trump gold, Prasiolite, and diamond pendant is now sold out. (Why does one needs to bring more than 20 pieces of jewelry worth allegedly worth more than $43,000 on a work trip, you might be wondering? According to a CMS spokesperson, Verma often brings a large collection of jewelry with her, as she “travels to Washington D.C., from Indiana each week to work at CMS,” which, sure, whatever.)
It’s rich that Verma, who became fairly wealthy off of her consulting work to decimate Medicaid, would be so upset at the loss of not only her jewelry, but her moisturizer, that she would attempt to file a claim upwards of $47,000. But I guess you gotta look as dewy as possible while you scheme up ways to destroy the lives of poor people!