February 2022


Your Government at Work!


So you thought the Single Payer Plan was dead for this legislative session!  Oh think again all of you tax payers.  Did you wonder why Governor Newsom didn’t put up a big fight against the single payer plan?  There is a reason.

Apparently, the Newsom administration has negotiated a secret deal which gives Kaiser Permanente a special Medicaid contract that would allow Kaiser to expand its reach in California and largely continue selecting the enrollees it wants.  Other health plans claim that this leaves them with a disproportionate share of the sickest and costliest patients. 

Medi-Cal, which is the state’s Medicaid program, covers roughly 14 Million low income patients.  That number is nearly one-third of the state’s total population of 39.37 Million. 

According to a doctor familiar with the deal the ultimate plan is to cut out the competition and make everyone in California under Kaiser.  If the Legislature and Governor cannot get single payer passed, then this is the best alternative since Kaiser’s Medi-Cal enrollment is expected to grow by 25% under the contract serving 32 counties.

The chief health officer for Kaiser, Dr. Bechara Choucair argued in a written response on behalf of Kaiser Permanente, that because it operates both as a health insurer and healthcare Provider, KP should be treated differently than other commercial health plans that participate in Medi-Cal.

Kaiser has donated significant amounts of money to a number of Newsom’s key initiatives.  One for $25 Million went to a state homelessness fund to move people off the streets and into hotels. That same year (2020) Kaiser pledged $63 Million in grants to help contract-tracing efforts.

Before joining the administration, Jim DeBoo, Newsom’s executive secretary used to lobby for Kaiser.  He was hired ostensibly to fix Mr. Newsom’s image.  Toby Douglas, a former director of the state Department of Health Care Services which runs Medi-Cal is now Kaiser’s Vice President for national Medicaid.  Former Newsom administration official and health insurance regulator Daniel Zingale, now advises a lobby firm that has Kaiser Permanente as a client.  In January 2019, Governor Newsom named him as Senior Advisor on Strategy and Communications.  Zingale served as Senior Vice President and chief political strategist at the California Endowment.  He was a founding director of the California Department of Managed Health Care which is the regulatory agency overseeing health plans in the state.  According to the California Globe, “Zingale is a strong proponent of Governor Newsom’s desire to restore the Obamacare and universal coverage for all people in California. 

 Do you get the feeling that things are going on behind the scene that the average taxpayer knows nothing about?


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