Bay Area Council Blog: Healthcare Archive

Thanksgiving Holiday Travel Expected To Increase 11 Percent From 2009

Council Doubling Down on Solving Regional Commute Mess

The Bay Area Council just loves a good challenge, and there is perhaps no bigger challenge for the region than bringing some relief to the congested mess that is our transportation system. The Council’s Executive Committee, meeting at member company Facebook in Menlo Park, on Thursday endorsed a 2017 policy platform that will direct significantly more time, energy and resources to finding and implementing both short-term and longer-term solutions to the region’s grinding traffic and overwhelmed mass transit systems. The Executive Committee under the leadership of Chair Michael Covarrubias of TMG Partners also renewed the Council’s priority policy areas from 2016 that include expanding housing, closing the workforce skills gap and securing the region’s long-term water supply in the face of continuing drought and increased competition among urban, environmental and agricultural interests.

The message was clear, however, that the highest priority must be on fixing the region’s dysfunctional commute, which ranks among the worst in the country and threatens to undermine the Bay Area’s economic success. Michael Matthews, Director of California Public Policy for Facebook, emphasized the importance of commute improvement in his remarks welcoming the Council to the social media giant’s campus, saying it is a key issue for the company along with housing (just today, Facebook announced a $20 million commitment to help local nonprofit housing and rental assistance programs).

Longer commutes, slower traffic and congested mass transit are choking the region’s economic productivity and putting us at growing competitive disadvantage with other states and regions. The Council has already begun laying the groundwork for a bold and aggressive regional transportation improvement vision that will be unveiled in the coming months. In addition, the Council will be exploring new technologies that can help manage the demand side of the transportation equation, promoting the development of autonomous vehicles and continuing our work to increase the use of private commuter shuttles. Expanding public and private water transportation services will figure prominently, and builds on great progress the Council has already made to increase public ferry service around the entire bay and promote fast-emerging private water taxi services.

Housing, of course, is another area on which the Council will continue to put heavy focus. Our leadership and advocacy this year helped win passage of the only significant housing bill in Sacramento – SB 1069 to expand accessory dwelling units (also known as in-law units) — and elevate the housing issue among elected leaders who as a result are now pointing to 2017 as the year of housing. The Council also backed affordable housing measures in Santa Clara and Alameda counties that both passed last month.  Stay tuned for further details on planning for our work on housing, transportation, workforce and water policy. 2017 is going to be a big year.


Covered CA Making Progress, but Challenges Remain

The Bay Area Council’s Healthcare Committee hosted a fascinating discussion this week (Oct. 5) about the current state of the Affordable Care Act marketplaces throughout the nation and expectations for the future of Covered California. Speakers included Blue Shield of California CFO Mick Murray, Covered California Deputy Director James DeBenedetti, and California Association of Health Plans Vice President of State Programs Athena Champman. With several large insurers recently pulling out of the ACA marketplaces, the committee discussed the impact on premium rates and explored ways to stabilize the marketplaces going forward. Fortunately, Covered California has been the nation’s greatest success story, with more enrollees than the next three states combined and the healthiest risk pool in the country. Still, Covered California is pursuing a robust media and marketing strategy to reach more people – including healthier populations – that may otherwise not elect to enroll in healthcare coverage. This will ultimately help to expand the risk pool and stabilize the market in the long term.

The Council has been a leading voice in helping to implement the Affordable Care Act in California, and we will continue working to ensure that all Californians have access to high quality, low-cost healthcare in the future. Special thanks to Dignity Health for hosting this meeting. To engage in the Council’s Healthcare work, please contact Policy Manager Emily Loper.


Council Names Bernard J. Tyson Vice Chair

The Bay Area Council Executive Committee has elected Kaiser Permanente Chairman and CEO Bernard J. Tyson Vice Chair of the organization, positioning the Council for continuing strong leadership in addressing the region’s major challenges. Tyson joins Chair Michael Covarrubias, Chairman and CEO of TMG Partners, in filling out the Executive Committee’s top two leadership roles.

“Bernard’s appointment will ensure the Council continues a powerful legacy of business leadership in the Bay Area and California,” said Covarrubias, who is in the middle of a two-year term as Chair that ends in 2017. “I’m glad he said yes. It’s comforting to know that a visionary like Bernard is waiting in the wings to carry the Council forward. I’m excited to work with him during my term as Chair to achieve the Council’s important policy goals and make sure that the voice of business is heard loud and clear – here, in Sacramento and D.C.”

As chief executive of a $61 billion a year organization that serves 10.6 million members in eight states and the District of Columbia, and employs 180,000 workers and 18,000 physicians, Tyson is widely considered one of the nation’s most influential health care leaders. Tyson has played an instrumental role in shaping the Council’s health care policy agenda and its focus on providing high-quality care, controlling costs and making health care accessible for more Californians. And he has provided important leadership on the Council’s Executive Committee of CEOs and other top executives in setting and achieving the Council’s overall policy priorities.

“The Bay Area Council is working across the entire region and across industries to create positive dialogue intended to solve our region’s toughest challenges,” Tyson said. “I’m honored by the appointment, and I look forward to working with Mike Covarrubias and the entire Council leadership to create an even stronger economy and more vibrant communities for everyone who lives and works here.”

Tyson’s selection as Vice Chair adds momentum to the progress the Council is making on its lead policy priorities under Covarrubias. The Council is waging an aggressive campaign to expand workforce housing in California, working to win passage in the state Legislature of a proposal by Governor Jerry Brown to fast track local approval of affordable housing. The Council is also focused on reducing traffic congestion and increasing investment in regional transportation systems, ensuring the Bay Area has a reliable water supply and building stronger connections between employers and higher education institutions to close the middle skills employment gap.

In addition to his role at Kaiser Permanente, Tyson is also an outspoken voice nationally on addressing and improving race relations, and for increasing economic opportunities for boys and men of color. His 2014 essay following Michael Brown’s death in Ferguson, MO – It’s Time to Revolutionize Race Relations – described his experience as an African American CEO and contributed to the national conversation on the status of race in the U.S. Under his leadership, Kaiser Permanente is serving as an early champion of a new regional pilot project launched in Oakland on July 22 that will work to provide jobs for hundreds of Bay Area youths, with specific focus on boys and men of color.

“Bernard J. Tyson is a leader’s leader,” said Jim Wunderman, President and CEO of the Bay Area Council. “Bernard brings to the Council Executive Committee an incredible background of business acumen, knowledge and experience. And while his professional career has been in healthcare, Bernard readily grasps the bigger picture of issues – from housing, to transportation, to workforce opportunity – affecting employers, workers and the broader community. The Council looks forward to thriving with his leadership.”

Read Bernard J. Tyson’s full biography>>

MainstreamingMedi-Cal copy

New BACEI Report Measures Medi-Cal Impact on CA Economy

Last Friday (June 3), the Bay Area Council Economic Institute released a major report at an event hosted by Blue Shield of California that documented the massive positive impact the state’s Medi-Cal program has on the economy.  The analysis shows that this program is now the source of coverage for over 13 million people in the state, 6.4 million of whom are working Californians or their children.  According to the report, Medi-Cal coverage adds $1.7 billion to the state’s economy by avoiding lost personal income from illness as a result of being uninsured.

Read the report: Mainstreaming Medi-Cal>>

California Health and Human Services Secretary Diana Dooley was on hand and praised the report as “essential reading.”  Dooley, who also chairs the state’s Affordable Care Act marketplace, Covered California, discussed with the members of the Bay Area Council’s Healthcare Committee how we can build on recent innovations to create a more consumer-centric healthcare system of competing stable networks and work together across sectors to improve the health of the people of our state through initiatives such as Let’s Get Healthy California.  To get involved in the Council’s healthcare work, please contact Economic Institute President Micah Weinberg.


Council Leads High-Level Executive Delegation to D.C.

The Bay Area Council this week (May 24-26) led a high-level business delegation to Washington, D.C. for meetings with top White House and legislative leaders on a range of critical issues, including water, transportation, housing, trade and healthcare. The delegation, led by Council Chair Michael Covarrubias of TMG Partners and Government Relations Committee Co-Chairs Andrew Giacomini of Hanson Bridgett and Peter Brightbill of Wells Fargo, met with Sen. Dianne Feinstein, Energy Sec. Ernest Moniz and Leader Nancy Pelosi, among others.

Senator Feinstein was thrilled to hear Bay Area Council is advocating for a second southern crossing across the Bay and was interested in the Water Committee’s request to include language in her drought bill to streamline federal regulatory approvals. Delegates got a briefing from White House and Health and Human Services officials on President Obama’s Precision Medicine Initiative and Vice President Joe Biden’s Cancer Moonshot Initiative. The meetings with Leader Pelosi centered on the Bay Area’s traffic and housing problems and the delegation updated her on the Council’s support of legislation to ease barriers for creating second living units and fast tracking approval of affordable housing developments.

At a dinner generously hosted by the Microsoft Innovation & Policy Center, delegates enjoyed speaking with Congresswoman Anna Eshoo and hearing from both Congressman Mark DeSaulnier and Congressman Honda about trade, water transportation, and the current political landscape. In meetings with Department of Transportation Deputy Secretary Victor Mendez, Chair Covarrubias and Transportation Committee Co-Chair Jeff Heller of Heller Manus talked about the dire need for increased transportation investment and briefed Mendez on the Council’s work to expand regional ferry service. The Council looks forward to participating in a follow up meeting with DOT and a transportation strategy task force team of long term transportation planners for Oakland, San Francisco and San Jose.

To end the trip, delegates sat down with Department of Energy Secretary Ernest Moniz and Department of Energy Officials to discuss next week’s 7th Clean Energy Ministerial hosted in partnership with the Bay Area Council. Secretary Moniz and DOE thanked the Bay Area Council for their work organizing this major event and were very excited to use this event to empower citizens and businesses to sustain and enhance quality of life while forwarding clean energy goals.

The Council extends its deepest thanks to major trip sponsors Intel, Oracle, Microsoft, and DLA Piper. To engage in our federal policy work, please contact Senior Advisor George Broder.


Outlook Conference Goes Bigger Better Bolder

Hundreds of business, government and academic leaders gathered Tuesday, May 17 at the Bay Area Council’s 2016 Outlook Conference presented by Wells Fargo to hear from major CEOs and other top thinkers about some of the key challenges facing our region, our economy, employers and workers. Wells Fargo Chairman and CEO John Stumpf delivered the opening keynote to an audience of 600 at the Park Central Hotel in San Francisco, giving his unique insights on national and global economic trends, California’s housing crisis, and the outlook for the fast-emerging financial technology sector before sitting down for an engaging Q&A with PG&E CEO and Council Executive Committee member Tony Earley.

Rudy Giuliani, chair of Greenberg Traurig’s cybersecurity and crisis management practice, closed the conference with entertaining, informative and wide ranging remarks on his time as New York City mayor, the ubiquity of digital technology and the massive threat that cyber attacks pose to the economy, national security, consumers and business.

Jennifer Siebel Newsom, CEO of The Representation Project, delved into the damaging role of gender stereotypes in limiting opportunities for women and challenged executives to examine how their workplace and leadership practices can remove obstacles to advancement. Mozilla Executive Chairwoman Mitchell Baker talked about the digitization of everything and the challenges of an open Web.

Microsoft’s Oliver Parker led a fascinating discussion with Kaiser Permanente’s Manish Vipani and Nexenta CEO Tarkan Maner on how big data and cloud computing are transforming healthcare. Xerox Chief Technology Officer Sophie Vandebroek explored some of amazing technologies driving the clean energy and energy storage sectors. And Chauncey Lennon of JPMorgan Chase led a discussion with Tumml CEO Clara Brenner and Jewish Vocational Services Director Abby Snay on the major themes from JPMorgan Chase’s new report: Tech Jobs for All? Exploring the Promise and Pitfalls of Technology Training in the United States.

Council Chair and TMG Partners Chairman and CEO Michael Covarrubias opened the conference with a look at how the Council is addressing the key issues of housing and transportation. Bay Area Council Economic Institute President Micah Weinberg unveiled their 9th Economic Profile: Promise and Perils of an Accelerated Economy and used it to debunk five myths about the Bay Area economy.

Videos of all the speakers will be available starting next week. To view the full agenda, visit Outlook Conference: Bigger Better Bolder.

The Council extends its deepest thanks to Wells Fargo for serving as presenting Visionary sponsor, and also to Kaiser Permanente for serving as Pioneer sponsor.


Promoting Medical Devices Opportunities in China

The Bay Area Council recently cohosted a medical device reception at the Westin-Shanghai’s Crown Hall in cooperation with the California Center for International Trade and Development. The event was held as part of the week-long China International Medical Equipment Fair and brought California medical device designers together with government officials to discuss regulatory challenges. Representatives from Nanjing and Shanghai Healthcare and Commercial departments fielded questions about product registration, distributor partnerships, and the priorities of China’s healthcare system under the 13th Five Year Plan. The Bay Area Council’s government partners in both cities further pledged their assistance in connecting California’s medical devices designers to qualified buyers in their municipal districts. The event was the first in the continuing partnership between the Bay Area Council and the California Center for International Trade and Development in China.


Council’s Early Ed Campaign Honored

The ground-breaking Talk Read Sign program that the Bay Area Council developed to promote early childhood education has been recognized with a prestigious “Effie” or Effectiveness in Advertising Award under the category of “good works.” Talk Read Sing was born at the Council’s Early Childhood Education Committee as part of an effort by then-Chairman George Halvorson to close the word and language gap experienced primarily by children in low income families.  The Council, supported by several members including Kaiser Permanente, Clear Channel Outdoor, and UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland, retained top advertising agency Goodby Silverstein to design the materials and entered into a partnership with Too Small to Fail and the Clinton Foundation which has grown the campaign from an Oakland effort to now Fresno, Tulsa Oklahoma, with several other cities in the pipeline. Halvorson was subsequently appointed by Gov. Jerry Brown to chair California’s First 5 Commission, where the Talk Read Sing campaign has served as a key messaging tool. To engage in the Council’s early childhood education work, please contact Senior Vice President Matt Regan.


Precision Medicine Summit Zeroes in on Cost, Quality

Top leaders in the emerging field of precision medicine gathered Thursday (Feb. 25) for a day-long summit convened by the Bay Area Council and hosted by Oracle with major support from Genentech. An audience of 200 heard from leading experts about the promise of precision medicine to improve how we treat individual patients, combat disease and bring down the cost of healthcare through scientific and technological advances and the use of Big Data. Delivering on the promise of precision medicine requires the ability to leverage unprecedented amounts of data, and enabling seamless access to that data for researchers and clinicians is one of the most important things we are doing here at Oracle, Oracle CEO Safra Catz said in opening keynote remarks.

Included on the agenda was a conversation on scientific advancements with Joseph DeRisi of the UCSF School of Medicine, Garret Hampton from Genentech and Jonathan Sheldon of Oracle. Genomic CEO Kim Popovits sat down with Blue Shield of California CEO Paul Markovich for a candid and informative conversation on public and private funding of precision medicine. And Bay Area Council Economic Institute (BACEI) President Dr. Micah Weinberg led a discussion on the promise of precision medicine to improve health and lower costs with Dr. Elizabeth Baca from the Governor’s Office of Planning and Research, Manoja Lecamwasam of Dignity Health and Dr. Michael Seiden of McKesson. Dr. Otis Brawley of the American Cancer Society closed out the summit with remarks on the new frontiers that precision medicine is exploring.

To highlight just how important this emerging field is, the Council’s summit coincided with a similar gathering that President Obama convened on Thursday at the White House. To engage in our healthcare policy work, contact BACEI President Micah Weinberg.



Premature births cost businesses nationwide more than $12 billion annually in excess health care expenses. To address this problem, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute partnered with the March of Dimes Foundation to develop a new tool that lets businesses estimate the potential cost to them of premature births and provide a range of resources to help employees avoid preterm births. The new Cost of Prematurity to Business Estimator was unveiled Thursday (Dec. 10) at an event hosted by the Bay Area Council.

The event featured presentations from Economic Institute President Micah Weinberg, PhD, as well as from Dr. James Byrne, Chairman of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Santa Clara Medical Center; Tre’ McCallister, Principal at Mercer; and Dr. Maurice Druzin, Professor and Vice Chair of Obstetrics and Gynecology at Stanford University School of Medicine outlining steps businesses and individuals can take and on the progress leading medical researchers are making.

Visit the Institute’s blog to view a recording of the webcast, and try the new — and free — tool and estimate the cost of prematurity to your business here.