Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services nominee
UNITED STATES - FEBRUARY 16: Seema Verma, Administrator of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services nominee, takes her seat to testify during her confirmation hearing in the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday, Feb. 16, 2017. (Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call) Bill Clark—CQ-Roll Call,Inc.

President Trump's Health Pick Says Maternity Coverage Should Be Optional

(WASHINGTON) — President Donald Trump's pick to lead the government's major health insurance programs says maternity coverage should be optional for patients.

Indiana health care consultant Seema Verma tells the Senate Finance Committee that patients — not the government — should determine the insurance benefits they need.

Verma was facing questions from Michigan Democratic Sen. Debbie Stabenow about the Obama-era health law. That law made maternity and newborn coverage a mandatory benefit for all health insurance plans.

Verma tells Stabenow that some women want maternity coverage and "some women might not choose that."

Republicans have criticized the law's requirement that insurers cover a standard set of "essential" benefits, including women's health services.

Verma would head the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which also oversees the 2010 health law.

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