Health Care a Major Issue in Race for Open Seat on CalPERS Board
Three candidates for an open seat on the CalPERS board are putting forth different proposals for how to deal with rising health care costs, a major concern for the board in recent years, the Sacramento Bee reports.
An election for the open seat to represent CalPERS is a rare occurrence, heightening the competition. Robert Carlson is retiring after 37 years on the board.
CalPERS spends about $5.3 billion annually on health coverage for 1.2 million people.
The candidates for the open seat are:
- Susan Bergeron-Vance of Lakewood, a former director of finance and administrative services for Santa Fe Springs;
- Henry Jones of Los Angeles, a former CFO for the Los Angeles Unified School District; and
- Perry Kenny of Sacramento, a former tax consultant to Board of Equalization Commissioner Claude Parrish.
All three candidates support CalPERS' efforts to rein in rising health care costs, as well as the fund's commitment to maintaining current pension and retiree health care benefits, but the three candidates also offer different proposals related to health care.
For example, Bergeron-Vance called for CalPERS to study adding more health plans to expand members' health care options and supports legislation to preserve existing retiree health care benefits.
Jones said CalPERS should take a more active role in research and investments targeted at reducing health care costs. On the topic of retiree health care benefits, Jones said he would study proposals to develop a program to help workers save for health care costs in retirement and require employers to pre-fund employees' retiree health benefits.
Kenny advocated for CalPERS being more aggressive in negotiations with health care organizations and evaluating opportunities to partner with not-for-profit groups to form purchasing pools for medications and other health care services. Kenny also supports studying reciprocal arrangements for health care benefits for CalPERS retirees who live outside of California.
On Monday, CalPERS will mail ballots to 393,000 retirees eligible to vote in the election, which runs through Sept. 28. A runoff will be held in November if one candidate does not receive a majority of votes (Chan, Sacramento Bee, 8/17).This is part of the California Healthline Daily Edition, a summary of health policy coverage from major news organizations. Sign up for an email subscription.