Bay Area Council Blog: Healthcare Archive

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Council Helps Forge New UCBerkeley-China R&D Partnership

The Bay Area Council today (March 27) applauded the announcement of a new partnership between the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society (CITRIS) and the Banatao Institute at UC Berkeley and Zhejiang University (ZJU) in Hangzhou, China, that marks the first step in an exciting new research and development collaboration focused on cutting-edge technology innovations.

An agreement signed by CITRIS and ZJU was made possible with a $1.2 million gift from an alumnus of UC Berkeley, who is the Director of Zhejiang Zerong Network Technology Co. Ltd. This first phase of funding will be used to generate a vision and plan for the new ZJU-CITRIS Research Innovation Center in Hangzhou and attract support for a collaboration of much larger scale and impact on both regions. This global innovation and incubation hub will support the development of technology solutions in the areas of health; sustainable infrastructures; people and robots; and connected communities.

The Council, through its China Global Initiative, was proud to work with the UC Berkeley Chancellor’s Office of Government and Community Relations and under the leadership of CITRIS Director Costas Spanos in developing the partnership by leveraging our strong relationships in China.

“This new partnership has the potential be a game-changer in fostering cooperation on research and development that can benefit both the Bay Area and China,” said Del Christensen, Chief of the Council’s China Global Initiative. “When the Council entered China 10 years ago, it was specifically with the purpose of helping create opportunities like this. It’s gratifying to see this new collaboration between our region and one of China’s fastest-growing and most innovative capital cities begin to take shape.”

The Council operates offices in Hangzhou, Shanghai and Nanjing China, to support business access and cooperation between California and China. To learn about the Council’s China Global Initiative, please contact Del Christensen.

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TOP ECONOMISTS, BUSINESS LEADERS GIVE ECONOMIC FORECASTS ON INAUGURATION DAY

As the world watched the inauguration of President Donald Trump, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute’s 10th Annual Economic Forecast presented by McKinsey & Company and hosted by the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco convened leading economists and top experts to give their economic forecast for the Bay Area, California, and the nation.

The prognosis was clear. As we usher in the new administration, we are on stable footing. Dr. Christopher Thornberg, Founding Partner of Beacon Economics and a leading expert on the California economy, presented on a set of economic indicators, showing that much of the national political rhetoric around stagnant wages, the impact of trade, and unemployment is not borne out in the economic data. Labor markets are tight and becoming tighter across most of the United States. This is particularly true in California where the housing supply problem is one of the biggest challenges to continued growth. He also assessed that, while GDP is growing relatively slowly, it is growing and economic fundamentals, such as consumer spending, remain strong. Among the challenges cited for slow growth were self-inflcted wounds and political gridlock, a weak global economy, and the shift to an information economy among others.  And, while there is little chance for a recession (for now), uncertainty surrounding the new administration’s policy agenda clouds the view forward. There are broad ramifications for potential change in policy in healthcare, immigration, social insurance, trade, manufacturing, and more.

San Francisco Fed President and Council Executive Committee member John Williams offered an exclusive perspective on the U.S. economy and federal monetary policy. Williams talked about the dynamics surrounding the U.S. labor market and how the Fed is likely to gradually increase its interest rate targets over time so that the economy grows without risking a bubble. Williams emphasized how the central bank is not influenced by partisan politics, staying politically independent, data-driven and focused on its narrow goals to promote low inflation, full employment and financial stability.

Bay Area Council Economic Institute Chair and McKinsey & Company Western Region Managing Partner Kausik Rajgopal and Aspen Institute Fellow Natalie Foster explored the “Future of the Worker” in the new age of automation and the growing gig economy. In the Bay Area, the independent workforce is 30 percent of the working age population with most digital independents working in order to earn when traditional jobs falter, to provide extra income for high cost of living or to buffer uneven income streams. One of the key points discussed was how automation is focused on specific activities rather than entire jobs, and can spur more job growth.

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Council in the Mix as Affordable Care Act Repeal Plans Debated

Anxieties are running high as the new Administration and Congress are signaling imminent changes to the Affordable Care Act if not a full repeal. California and its healthcare industry are heavily invested in the ACA — the law supports over 200,000 jobs in the state, over 1.5 million individuals are enrolled in coverage through Covered California and over 13 million residents now rely on Medi-Cal — and dismantling it would have significant economic as well as human impacts. As such, the Council is actively engaging with lawmakers and experts on both sides of the aisle to ensure pragmatic solutions moving forward.

Additionally, the Bay Area Council Economic Institute will be developing a series of policy briefs to be released throughout the year analyzing policy proposals and their potential impact to California’s economy, its healthcare system, and its citizens. The Council’s Healthcare Committee has assembled a task force to help inform which policy proposals to evaluate and will continue to host regular convenings and discussions. To engage in the Council’s Healthcare Committee, please contact Economic Institute President Micah Weinberg.

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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.

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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.

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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>>

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.