Seema Verma. Eats puppies.

As much as we all love to hate the Trump administration from afar, it's always nice to know that these assholes hate each other even more up close and in person. Medicare and Medicaid head Seema Verma, a cartoon villain who wears coats made of puppies (probably), has been gleefully dismantling Obamacare and trying to steal healthcare from poor people. But what do her coworkers think of her?

Turns out they detest her, too! Politico and Axios have reported for weeks that Verma and her boss, Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar, spend half their time trying to kick the shit out of each other, forcing Mike Pence, their capo from back in Indiana, to pull them apart keening MOTHER WOULD NOT APPROVE, over and over! (Probably.) And we ain't mad about it! Particularly since Verma and Azar seem to be canceling each other out, each sticking a shiv in the other's signature plan just before it lands on Trump's desk. Also, there's the leaking. So, so much leaking.

Now we're not saying that Alex Azar's allies fed Politico a story that makes Verma look like Marie Antoinette tucking into a cake made from human babies. But we're not NOT saying it either. Here's how Politico described the reimbursement claim submitted by Verma after her luggage was stolen in San Francisco in August 2018:

Verma's claim included $43,065 for about two dozen pieces of jewelry, based off an appraisal she'd received from a jeweler about three weeks after the theft. Among Verma's stolen jewelry was an Ivanka Trump-brand pendant, made of gold, prasiolite and diamonds, that Verma's jeweler valued at $5,900.

Verma's claim also included about $2,000 to cover the cost of her stolen clothes and another $2,000 to cover the cost of other stolen goods, including a $325 claim for moisturizer and a $349 claim for noise-cancelling headphones.

Apparently Verma, who had been giving a speech on the wonders of Medicare BUT NOT FOR ALL, came out to find her bag stolen out of a rented Chevy Tahoe in San Francisco. Verma carried no insurance on the "11 pairs of earrings, five necklaces and three pendants" in her luggage, which she initially valued at $20,000 in a police report. But after consulting an appraiser, Verma decided that actually she'd been traveling with jewelry worth about as much as the average American worker earns in an entire year. Pre-tax.

"At her own expense the administrator travels to Washington, DC, from Indiana each week to work at CMS, which was why she was traveling with her personal collection of jewelry," a spokesperson told Politico. So show a little gratitude, you mooching guttersnipes!

The woman demanding that we save American taxpayer dollars by adding a work requirement to Medicaid would like those same taxpayers to kick up fifty grand because she left a suitcase full of uninsured valuables in a car in a major metropolitan area. Personal responsibility for thee, but not for me! The fact that the theft occurred while she was inveighing against wasteful spending on poor people's healthcare, saying, "Medicaid is too vital a program to let fraud and inappropriate spending threaten it," is really just the cherry on top.

Sadly for Ms. Verma, HHS rules specifically forbid reimbursement for loss of jewelry, so you won't be able to buy her another $6,000 Ivanka Trump necklace she's apparently wearing in that picture above. In the end, she only got $2,852.40 for her lost baubles and that special lotion that makes you look like a younger, even more comically evil version of yourself. And since the HHS Inspector General got wind of it -- golly, wonder how that happened! -- you won't be able to pay Republican consultants $3.25 million to burnish her personal image either. It's a damn shame.

We didn't think there'd be another Lotiongate after Scott Pruitt got caught grifting hand lotion and trying to buy a used spunk mattress from the Trump Hotel, but Verma really came through. So watch your back, Alex Azar, because payback's a bitch. And so is Seema Verma.


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Liz Dye

Liz Dye lives in Baltimore with her wonderful husband and a houseful of teenagers. When she isn't being mad about a thing on the internet, she's hiding in plain sight in the carpool line. She's the one wearing yoga pants glaring at her phone.


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