HHS: New Secretary Demonstrates Empathy for State’s Poor
In his first five months as California's Health and Human Services secretary, Grantland Johnson has exhibited "sensitivity to minorities and poor people by making it easier to apply for a children's health program and by ending Medi-Cal fraud-prevention program at the U.S.-Mexico border," the San Diego Union Tribune reports. Johnson, who hails from a single-parent, working class background and is a former Western director of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services for the Clinton administration, has reduced a 28-page Healthy Families application to four pages and has expressed commitment to easing enrollment -- a process he calls "humiliating" due to excessive questioning. Despite his commitment to social services, Johnson concedes a "spending spree" is not possible. "There's only so much money in the till," he said, adding, "We have to make some tough decisions." Next up for Johnson is a report on the regulation of HMOs that he is co-authoring for Gov. Gray Davis, expected to echo Davis' goals of promoting "more consumer information, control of health decisions by doctors and accountability for those in charge of the system" (Ainsworth, 5/30).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.