Health Care Team Hits Ground Running

Long before today’s inauguration of Jerry Brown, the new governor’s interest in health care policy has been clear.

He appointed a new Secretary of Health and Human Services almost a month ago, back on Dec. 7, naming Diana Dooley for the job. Dooley also will serve on the new and powerful Health Benefits Exchange Board, along with two members appointed last week by outgoing Governor Schwarzenegger — including the woman Dooley replaced at HHS, Kim Belshé.

According to Dooley, there has been a high level of cooperation between the two administrations on health care reform and policy.

“There can be only one governor at a time,” Dooley said in an interview last month. “But both administrations have been working well for a smooth transition.”

The work of Belshé and others has been impressive, Dooley said.. “There has been so much good work done on health care in California already,” Dooley said. “We are all in this together.”

So far, the new administration has focused attention on the ailing California budget. The upcoming cuts will most likely include health and human services, but so far at least, the new governor has mentioned the need for general cuts to education and has not taken up some of the larger human services cuts proposed last year by Schwarzenegger.

“Conflict is sort of inevitable,” Dooley said, “but we need to figure out what can be done.”

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Capitol Desk