Thursday, October 9th, 2003


Health Policy Views Still Hazy

Governor-elect Arnold Schwarzenegger has appointed a transtion team and a transition Director of Finance.

The transition team contains a mix of conservative Republicans, such as Congressmember David Drier and Sen. Jim Brulte; moderate Republicans such as former legislators Rebecca Morgan and Charlene Zettel, and Democrats such as San Francisco Mayor Willie Brown, LA Mayor Jimmy Hahn, former Speaker Bob Hertzberg, and CTA leader John Hein. Corporate leaders are well represented from Carly Fiorina (HP) to Eli Broad (major developer). Former Governor Wilson and former Republican candidates Bill Simon and Richard Riordan are included.

The transition team contains 65 members and is plainly intended to be broadly representative of the ethnic diversity of California. Latinos and Asian/Pacific Islanders are well represented. Several African Americans other than Willie Brown are included. Democrats look to be perhaps 15%-20% of the group. While conservative Republicans are well represented, probably better represented than Democrats, this is certainly not the dream team for far right. A McClintock transition team would have been very different.

We do not know what the role of this transition team will be: a group of this size is plainly not a working body. But it potentially creates a broad network for recruiting department directors and other political appointees and for shaping policy in the transition.

The 3,000 political appointees will be replaced at the time of the official transition in a few weeks: this will include staff down to the deputy director level in departments and in some cases below. We do not know who will take their places because no one knows this. We know from our experience with the Department of Managed Health Care what a huge difference a new team can make. We shall see what the new Administration brings.

The new director of finance is on loan from that position in Florida where she has served Governor Jeb Bush. In Florida, she has required departments to map out cost and demand for services, with five-year forecasts of need and performance goals that connect outcomes to budget dollars. Her view of what she has accomplished and that of the Republicans who lead the legislature seems to be at odds–she believes the budget has been balanced without tax increases. Legislators feel differently.

For a complete list of the transition team, go to on October 9, 2003. For a description of the new director of finance, there is an interesting article at also for 10/9/03.

Does this mean that we will face the same budget fight that we faced this year? Or a different and more difficult one? The budget deficit was projected to be $8 billion or more—repealing the vehicle license fee ups that to $12 billion. If the new administration tosses out some of the various contrivances used to defer the pain until later, then the magnitude of the spending gap only grows. Cleaning house has consequences.

In his campaign, he has stated that there will be cuts, but he will not raise taxes, and education is not on the table. The next biggest item in the budget, by far, is health care.

Other than that hint, we do not yet have a clear sense of Schwarzenegger’s health policy objectives. He did not answer the Health Access questionaire, as part of a general campaign policy to not answer any candidate surveys, and of course has no voting record. We will bring you further reports on his policy positions as we have more information.

–Beth Capell & Anthony Wright for Health Access California.

Health Access California promotes quality, affordable health care for all Californians.
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