Seema Verma was recently sworn in as the Administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS). After her swearing-in ceremony, Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Tom Price, M.D., and  Verma took their first joint action, cosigning a letter to the nation’s governors affirming the department’s intent to work with states to improve the Medicaid program and the lives of those it serves.

In the letter, Secretary Price and CMS Administrator Verma recognize the vital importance of the Medicaid program and the duty of government to put beneficiaries first, ensuring the highest level of quality, accessibility and choices for Americans who rely on the program. They go on to note the current impediments that the Medicaid program faces and acknowledge the obligation to taxpayers to make sure Medicaid operates in a way that best serves the most vulnerable populations.

Both firmly believe that states know best how to care for their citizens, and in the letter Secretary Price and CMS Administrator Verma write, in part:

Today, we commit to ushering in a new era for the federal and state Medicaid partnership where states have more freedom to design programs that meet the spectrum of diverse needs of their Medicaid population. We wish to empower all states to advance the next wave of innovative solutions to Medicaid’s challenges—solutions that focus on improving quality, accessibility, and outcomes in the most cost-effective manner. States, as administrators of the program, are in the best position to assess the unique needs of their respective Medicaid-eligible populations and to drive reforms that result in better health outcome.