Schwarzenegger Names Health Net Executive as Chief of Staff
Gov.-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger (R) on Wednesday named Patricia Clarey, vice president for government affairs at the HMO Health Net, as his chief of staff, the AP/Sacramento Bee reports (AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/22). The chief of staff position is a key role in a California governor's administration because he or she has a role in appointing other government officials. Clarey, a deputy to former Gov. Pete Wilson's (R) chief of staff, worked in the administrations of former presidents Reagan and Bush before joining Health Net, the state's third-largest HMO (California Healthline, 10/21). Clarey also served as Schwarzenegger's deputy campaign manager (Ostrom/Marimow, San Jose Mercury News, 10/23). Several top aides in the Schwarzenegger campaign recommended Clarey's appointment, the Los Angeles Times reports (Morain, Los Angeles Times, 10/23). Several people close to Schwarzenegger's transition team said that Clarey's experience in Sacramento and in the private sector "make her a good choice for a neophyte politician like Schwarzenegger," the Mercury News reports (San Jose Mercury News, 10/23). Schwarzenegger said Clarey "has a wealth of experience in executive government" and "has a very good understanding of how the governor's office works" (AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/22). According to the Contra Costa Times, Clarey's appointment was praised by many Republicans but drew criticism from the Foundation for Taxpayer and Consumer Rights, which said in a statement that "HMO lobbyists should not be part of an administration that pledged to govern for the people, not for special interests" (LaMar, Contra Costa Times, 10/23). Beth Capell, a lobbyist for consumer advocacy group Health Access, said that Health Net "worked really hard to kill most HMO reforms proposed during Davis'" tenure as governor (Martin, San Francisco Chronicle, 10/23). But Lisa Haines, Health Net's vice president for corporate communications, said the HMO industry will not necessarily benefit from Clarey's appointment (Los Angeles Times, 10/23). Clarey said in a prepared statement, "It is an honor to return to public service and work for Gov. Schwarzenegger during such an important period in California's history. I am committed to the governor's goal of strengthening California's economy and bringing jobs back to the state." Clarey's appointment does not require confirmation, and she will begin work immediately, Schwarzenegger's transition team said (AP/Sacramento Bee, 10/22).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.