CMS announces new director of Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services

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Daniel Tsai will head up the highest department for Medicaid within CMS.


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Daniel Tsai previously served as the Assistant Secretary for MassHealth and Medicaid Director.

The Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services has announced Daniel Tsai as Deputy Administrator and Director of Center for Medicaid and CHIP Services (CMCS). 

With 80 million people receiving health coverage through Medicaid and the Children’s Health Insurance Program (CHIP), Tsai will lead the center’s efforts in addressing disparities in health equity and serving the needs of children, pregnant people, parents, seniors and individuals with disabilities who rely on these programs, CMS said this week. Tsai will start on July 6.


Originally from Massachusetts, Tsai served as the Assistant Secretary for MassHealth and Medicaid Director. His tenure focused on building a sustainable Medicaid program focused on equitable coverage for individuals and families in the state. 

Tsai helped lead Massachusetts Medicaid through a significant restructuring through the 2016 Medicaid 1115 waiver. Under these reforms, MassHealth implemented an at-scale shift to value-based care. 

Through the waiver, MassHealth also launched a program committing investments for nutritional and housing supports to address the social determinants of health for high cost, at-risk individuals. Also during his tenure, the agency made investments in strengthening community health centers, behavioral health and home and community-based services.

Tsai earned a Bachelor of Arts in Applied Mathematics and Economics from Harvard University, summa cum laude.


According to an enrollment trends snapshot released last week by the CMS, more than 80 million people have signed up for health coverage through Medicaid and CHIP, a record high.

Between February 2020 and January 2021 there was a 13.9% increase in people who enrolled in coverage, representing about 9.9 million people. That means the increases were seen over the course of the public health emergency caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.

Among the 50 states and Washington D.C., a total of 80,543,351 people were enrolled and receiving full benefits from the Medicaid and CHIP programs by the end of January 2021. In the 50 states that reported total Medicaid child and CHIP enrollment data for January 2021, more than 38.3 million children were enrolled in Medicaid and CHIP combined – about 50% of the total Medicaid and CHIP enrollment.

CMS attributes the increase in total Medicaid and CHIP enrollment to the impact of the pandemic, in particular, enactment of section 6008 of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act (FFCRA). FFCRA provides states with a temporary 6.2% payment increase in Federal Medical Assistance Percentage (FMAP) funding.


“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. As we continue to navigate the COVID-19 pandemic and look ahead to meeting the needs of enrollees, I look forward to working with Dan to serve individuals who rely on CMS for health coverage and ensure accessible and comprehensive coverage is available for all.”

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