08 June 2009

Obama Appoints Critic of W.Va. Policy to Health Care Post

The Obama administration's new director of the federal Center for Medicaid and State Operations had headed one of several groups critical of West Virginia's "redesign" of its Medicaid program for the poor, The Associated Press reports.

Cindy Mann has been appointed to lead an agency that "wields tremendous power, developing policies and procedures and evaluating the effectiveness of state agencies that run Medicaid programs," the article said.

Mann had been executive director of Georgetown University's Center for Children and Families, which last year estimated that "93 percent of children eligible in the state for the Mountain Health Choices Plan faced loss of some coverage," AP reports.

AP's Tom Breen notes that "at the time, state Medicaid officials slammed the report, calling it a rehash of old information and dismissing its criticism as off the mark."

But with other foes of the plan to modify Medicaid "excited" by the pick, Manchin administration officials "say they hope Mann's leadership will help give the program a chance to work as it was designed," Breen writes.

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