The U.S. Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) announced on Monday that Massachusetts’ Medicaid director Daniel Tsai has been named Deputy Administrator of CMS and Director of CMS’s Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS). A record 80 million people are receiving health coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP).
Tsai will begin his new job on July 6. Although the U.S. Health Resources and Services Administration (HRSA) runs the 340B program, CMCS plays a key role in 340B policy. In January 2020, for example, it issued guidelines for states for avoiding duplicate Medicaid rebates and 340B discounts on the same drugs. CMCS’s recommended “best practices” included state limits on covered entities and contract pharmacies’ ability to use 340B purchased drugs for Medicaid beneficiaries. 340B provider organizations expressed concerns with certain elements of the guidelines. “Allowing such an opt-out would undermine the very purpose of 340B and potentially damage safety-net hospitals’ ability to care for patients with low incomes,” hospital group 340B Health said.
Tsai held his position in Massachusetts for more than six years, making him the state’s longest-tenured Medicaid director in decades. He’s credited with securing a long-term 1115 waiver from CMS that allowed the movement of most of the state’s Medicaid enrollees into accountable care organizations.
“As someone who has successfully led a state Medicaid program to focus on value-based care for its recipients, Dan brings invaluable experience to CMS,” said CMS Administrator Chiquita Brooks-LaSure. “The COVID-19 pandemic has made clear what a lifeline Medicaid and CHIP are for families and individuals across the country.” Interestingly, Tsai served under Republican governor Charlie Baker, making him one of the few key officials in the Biden administration to serve under a GOP administration.
Prior to the Massachusetts post, Tsai worked for nearly a decade in the healthcare practice of consulting firm McKinsey. He holds a degree in applied mathematics and economics from Harvard University, summa cum laude.