HENRY J. KAISER: Century’s Most Influential East Bay Leader
Henry J. Kaiser "transformed the physical and social geography of the region, ... founded the companies that put it on the map economically and helped create the most copied and controversial health care concept to date, the health maintenance organization," making him the most influential East Bay business leader of the century, according to the Contra Costa Times. Kaiser's legacy centers largely on the more than 100 companies he founded, including Kaiser Ventures Inc., Kaiser Aluminum Corp., the Henry J. Kaiser Family Foundation -- a not-for-profit health care-related philanthropic institute. His numerous companies also engendered thousands of other support businesses for his industries and his workers, revealing his "genius" for vertical integration. But Kaiser perhaps is most well known for creating the Kaiser Permanente HMO. Kaiser established the HMO in 1938, when he worked with Dr. Sidney Garfield to create a "group-practice pre-payment health plan" for his construction workers and later, his shipyard crews. Kaiser Permanente, headquartered in Oakland, has become the nation's largest HMO, covering 5.9 million members in California and 8.6 million members across the country (Pascual, et al., 12/12).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.