Home>Articles>‘Let’s Make a Deal:’ Newsom Admin. Inks Backroom Deal With Kaiser for Statewide Medi-Cal Health

California State Governor Gavin Newsom before a meeting in Sacramento, CA, May 31, 2020. (Photo: Matt Gush/Shutterstock)

‘Let’s Make a Deal:’ Newsom Admin. Inks Backroom Deal With Kaiser for Statewide Medi-Cal Health

State-controlled health care deal fails, Kaiser deal next best thing, ‘whether you like it or not’

By Katy Grimes, February 5, 2022 10:01 am

Only days after California’s proposed Single Payer state-controlled health care bill failed to even get to a vote on the Assembly floor last week, a medical industry news website announced “California inks sweetheart deal with Kaiser Permanente, jeopardizing Medicaid reforms.”

So while many heaved a sigh of relief that private health care was saved in the state, a few select Newsom advisors were meeting behind closed doors, away from elected lawmakers, to ink a similar deal. No wonder Newsom wasn’t hammering the Legislature to pass the state-controlled health care bill Assembly Bill 1400.

Kaiser Permanente “has given nearly $100 million in charitable funding and grant money to boost Newsom’s efforts against homelessness, COVID response, and wildfire relief since 2019,” according to Modern Healthcare.

Modern Healthcare reported:

“California Gov. Gavin Newsom’s administration has negotiated a secret deal to give Kaiser Permanente a special Medicaid contract that would allow the healthcare behemoth to expand its reach in California and largely continue selecting the enrollees it wants, which other health plans say leaves them with a disproportionate share of the program’s sickest and costliest patients.

“The deal, hammered out behind closed doors between Kaiser Permanente and senior officials in Newsom’s office, could complicate a long-planned and expensive transformation of Medi-Cal, the state’s Medicaid program, which covers roughly 14 million low-income Californians.”

14 million Medi-Cal patients is nearly one-third of the state’s total population of 39.37 million. Medi-Cal is the state’s public health insurance program which provides needed health care services for low-income individuals and families.

“The plan is to cut out the competition and make everyone in California under Kaiser,” a doctor familiar with the deal told the Globe under condition of anonymity. Is this just the camel’s nose under the tent?

Because if the Legislature and governor can’t pass single payer, this is the best alternative given that Kaiser’s Medi-Cal enrollment is expected to grow by 25% under the contract, serving 32 counties, CalMatters reported.

The clincher is this:

“Dr. Bechara Choucair, Kaiser Permanente’s chief health officer, argued in a prepared written response on behalf of KP that because it operates both as a health insurer and a healthcare provider, KP should be treated differently than other commercial health plans that participate in Medi-Cal.”

This is what happens when health insurance is conflated with health, and mandated to employers to provide it to their employees.

How did this deal come about?

“In 2020, KP gave $25 million to one of Newsom’s key initiatives, a state homelessness fund to move people off the streets and into hotel rooms, according to a KHN analysis of charitable payments filed with the California Fair Political Practices Commission. The same year, it donated $9.75 million to a state COVID relief fund.

In summer 2020, when local and state public health departments struggled to contain COVID spread, the healthcare giant pledged $63 million in grant funding to help contract-tracing efforts.”

and:

“Jim DeBoo, Newsom’s executive secretary, used to lobby for KP before joining the administration. Toby Douglas, a former director of the state Department of Health Care Services, which runs Medi-Cal, is now Kaiser Permanente’s vice president for national Medicaid.”

and:

“Kaiser Permanente historically has not played a very big role in Medi-Cal, and the state has long recognized that we would benefit from having them more engaged because they get better health outcomes and focus on prevention,” said Daniel Zingale, a former Newsom administration official and health insurance regulator who now advises a lobbying firm that has Kaiser Permanente as a client.”

The other key person is Diana Shiba, M.D., current Los Angeles County medical president who was Kaiser’s government committee lead/chair, my source said. The Kaiser Government committee is the lobby group for Kaiser.

In December 2020, Gov. Newsom hired a lobbyist as his Chief of Staff, ostensibly to help fix his image. Jim DeBoo, “one of the most sought-after political consultants in Sacramento” according to his website bio, is also said to be a close confidant of lobbyist Jason Kinney, of French Laundry restaurant birthday party fame. Gov. Newsom and his wife joined Kinney at the swanky Napa Valley restaurant in November 2020, violating his own COVID stay-at-home orders, and restaurant restrictions.

The Globe reported: “DeBoo has his work cut out, as San Francisco’s ABC7 News now reports that Newsom’s own companies received $3 million in federal relief funds. Eight or nine businesses owned by Newsom’s PlumpJack Group received the $3 million in loans through the Small Business Administration’s Paycheck Protection Program. Notably, for such a small business, the Newsom companies received a large amount of relief funds, according to Sean Moulton, a senior policy analyst with Project on Government Oversight.”

DeBoo’s lobbying clients included California Medical Association, California Apartment Association, California Dental Association, and the Kaiser Foundation Health Plan.

Our source said Kaiser has basically taken over the California Medical Association as well.

In December 2020 the Globe reported:

It’s not unusual for political consultants from both sides of the aisle to move into the Capitol to assist key lawmakers; the proper way is as an employee of the Legislature. Typically, the consultant takes a formal leave-of-absence from his firm, or resigns the post, unless he is the top dog for whom the business is named. DeBoo Communications is one such situation. It is not clear yet what Jim DeBoo’s employment arrangement will be. But many hope it is cleaner than Jason Kinney’s “arrangement” with Gov. Newsom.

As for Daniel Zingale, the Globe reported on him in January 2019 when Gov. Gavin Newsom named him as a Senior Adviser on Strategy and Communications. “Zingale, a political strategist and civil rights activist… has deep ties in California politics, and the Democratic Party. Zingale served as Senior vice president and chief political strategist at the California Endowment, was a founding director of the California Department of Managed Health Care – the regulatory agency overseeing health plans in the state, was chief of staff to then-California First Lady Maria Shriver and senior advisor to Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, and was Cabinet secretary to Gov. Gray Davis.”

“Zingale is a strong proponent of Gov. Newsom’s desire to restore the Obamacare mandate, and universal coverage for all people living in California.”

You do the math. This was the plan all along, “whether you like it or not.”

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50 thoughts on “‘Let’s Make a Deal:’ Newsom Admin. Inks Backroom Deal With Kaiser for Statewide Medi-Cal Health

  1. This backroom deal stinks. Is this not a violation of FTC anti-trust laws?
    “Monopolization Defined; The antitrust laws prohibit conduct by a single firm that unreasonably restrains competition by creating or maintaining monopoly power. Most Section 2 claims involve the conduct of a firm with a leading market position, although Section 2 of the Sherman Act also bans attempts to monopolize and conspiracies to monopolize.”

    1. “Dr. Bechara Choucair, Kaiser Permanente’s chief health officer, argued in a prepared written response on behalf of KP that because it operates both as a health insurer and a healthcare provider, KP should be treated differently than other commercial health plans that participate in Medi-Cal.”

      I agree with Dr. Choucair. Kaiser SHOULD be treated differently. The company should be required to sell either it’s insurance side or healthcare-provider side to level the playing field with other providers/insurers. The insurance claim adjusters and doctors should not be working for the same company, imo. In this case, claims for services can be delayed or denied based on “collusion” between the insurer and provider. There is at least the appearance of a conflict of interest.

      1. Thank God I live next to the Mexican border. Healthcare in Mex is already better and more affordable than here in California. That is about to become even more evident with the Newsom/Kaiser plan. Just hope that all the Canadians using the Mexican hospitals don’t plug up the works.

    2. I agree with you, Raymond, and it sure appears to be a blatant violation of FTC anti-trust laws. But, unfortunately, the Commie Democrats will do nothing, and RINO Republicans will do nothing too.

      1. Yes!
        Can a lawsuit be filed against Newsom and Kaiser?
        This goes against the will of the Populace.

        Gavi is a dictator than is a Klaus Young Globalist treasonous shill

  2. Comrades
    Pretty cute…14 million dependent Medical enrolled obviously are voters of the State…..

    It’s over……

  3. Kaiser has been working toward this goal for years. Newsom has a partner in them to provide managed care to all!
    Next step will be to reintroduce single payer and award it to Kaiser. Kaiser is a political player, no doubt!
    If this comes to fruition it will be the final knell in the coffin for me. It will be buh bye California!

  4. The secrecy, incestuousness, pay-to-play, and conflicts of interest here are EPIC and must be highly ILLEGAL, not just “unethical.” I know we’ve become “used to” this kind of dirty dealing and to say “illegal” in this state means little as a practical matter, but I’m sorry, familiarity and normalizing illegality doesn’t make it okay. There must be SOME WAY of addressing this and putting a stop to this nonsense.

    I know we’ve come to the realization that the legislature is barely a credible body, but they nonetheless did pull universal health care before a vote because it was going to pancake. That must mean SOMETHING in the face of what Newsom and Co. slithered around doing here on its heels. I’d like to hear what credible legal go-getters have to say about what is going on here and what can be done about it.

  5. Another backroom deal? What advertising company created the $22 million Super Bowl video advertisement for California, and who authorized it? Does the AG or any committee run checks and balances on Newsom?

  6. Newsom’s whole thing during his entire political career has been to take much of what the People of California resoundingly voted for or against and enact it or ignore it against their wishes. Examples are same-sex marriage (voted against TWICE), retaining the death penalty, retaining the bail system, and the list goes on, from roads to water, from soup to nuts. That Newsom is a sociopath without a conscience is likely the reason he was pushed into office, or installed, or however you want to think of it, by elite special interests who stand to benefit from what he manages to pull off.

    This is much more than defying the constitutional oath of office he took when he was sworn in as SF Supervisor, or SF Mayor, or CA Governor. I would think that his so-called qualified immunity takes him only so far and no farther. Are there not laws against and remedies for such large-scale blatant criminal acts? If not, why not? The People of California must have some remedy against this takeover and I hope we will hear from knowledgeable legal minds —- or others —- who will at least take a shot as to what that remedy might be.

    1. Well, Showandtell, governors have been indicted and convicted on federal charges before. But will Biden and Pelosi allow it? I doubt it. Here’s an example case:

      Former Illinois Governor Indicted…December 23, 2003 / 4:55 AM / AP
      Former Illinois Gov. George Ryan was indicted Wednesday on federal charges of taking payoffs, gifts and vacations in return for government contracts and leases while he was governor and secretary of state….Ryan, 69, a Republican known worldwide as a leading critic of the death penalty, gradually became the focus of a corruption investigation that began even before his 1998 election as governor. The scandal was a factor in his 2001 decision not to seek a second term….The investigation initially focused on bribes exchanged for licenses for unqualified truck drivers but was later expanded to a range of alleged bribery and other corruption in the Ryan era….https://www.cbsnews.com/news/former-illinois-governor-indicted/

    2. ShowandTell, you have summed up all the frustrations of the governed. Newsom truly is a dictator. It is why I often refer to him as Newsolini.

      He has extended his emergency powers from March 2020 to March 2022! That alone should have had a case brought up in front of the State Supreme Court in an expeditious manner.

      We the people are left without representation. May this be a lesson to the rest of the nation, one party rule makes rulers not representatives!

      Election integrity is imperative to preserve our constitutional republic. Otherwise, we get the Newsoms’, Gascons’, Boudins’,Pelosis’, ruling over us. We have a California Oligarchy with organizations such as Kaiser benefiting off our taxpayer dollars.

      Bring on the lawsuits for what else do we have left to bring balance and transparency?

      1. Thank you Raymond and Cali Girl for your helpful and food-for-thought responses to this mess.
        All that any of us; that is, the watchful citizens sitting out here attempting to be reasonable against what our so-called leadership is doing and has been doing to its citizenry with callous impunity, is try to shake the tree and then see if any of the seeds that fall to the ground take root. Still hopeful, less patient, but much more resolved, we will wait and see what, if anything, can be done.

    3. Showandtell, the sad part of this is that Katy Grimes is the only one in the news media that is reporting this. The other sad part is that many of these California voters will reelect Governor Climate Change in November and other Democraptic pukes with him. Oaths don’t matter to the left and neither do criminal acts that just roll off their teflon protection.

      1. Oh I know John, it’s STUNNING, isn’t it —- once again Katy Grimes stands alone in reporting a huge story like this one. Although we know it will be picked up and shared extensively because how could it not, California would be in a different place right now if even one third of reporters were to do their jobs as she does hers. Everlasting gratitude to Katy!
        We’ll see about the Gruesome reelected part and the getting away with criminal acts part. It’s not over yet! Either we have the Rule of Law or we don’t, and if we do, Gruesome’s goose may very well be cooked.

    4. Newsom is Klaus Schwab’s “Young Global Leaders” class of 2005…
      He’s part of the New World Order/Great Reset crowd…
      Do your research, the firms employing these globalist scum are the ones we need to cut off economically as there’s more of us than them…
      But it’s deeply deeply troubling that such an action was taken and where is the CAGOP in all of this???
      Certainly not filing lawsuits to stop this illegal action….

  7. Comrades
    Your primary care out of a EDD warehouse followed up with tests by DMV practioners…..
    Life will be cheeeep……especially yours.

  8. Define “health care”. Know what you are buying before you hand over a blank check.
    What exactly is “health care”?

    One thing health care is not a right; it is a commodity. Beware of any demand tha starts by claiming health care is a right. Nope, it is nuts and bolts – stuff that we pay for.

    You buy and sell commodities. Health care services require the skills of third persons, who provide this commodity. Therefore, it can never be a right .It is a defined commodity with limits, rationing, fair compensation and appropriate cost-benefit considerations.

    With that in mind, what is the definition of “health care” that Newsom is signing us up to pay for.

    1. This is TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION Now all undocumented will get free health care and the Democratic party will finally achieve it’s Kingdom control as long planned.

  9. This is TAXATION WITHOUT REPRESENTATION Now all undocumented will get free health care and the Democratic party will finally achieve it’s Kingdom control as long planned.

  10. As a former employee just fired last month by KP over my religious beliefs with over 1,000 others in California, this makes me so sick knowing that I was working for a company colluding with the state and federal governments on multiple issues (https://americasfrontlinedoctors.org/2/videos/dr-gold-explains-the-preliminary-injunction-against-kaiser-permanente/ shows the main issue that got me and my colleagues fired and KP’s role in the national mandate)! KP is part of the oligarchy in California as well as the nation as a whole! This has to stop!

    1. FormerKPEmployee: An excellent video to supplement this story. Readers will know some but not all of what’s covered here, and Katy mentions some of it too. Recommended. 15 minutes of Dr. Simone Gold. Thank you for posting this. Wishing you the best of luck as you contend with the real life fallout from all of this.

    2. FormerKPEmployee, I am wondering if former employees like yourself can get together and file a class-action lawsuit against Kaiser for illegal termination. I am pretty sure that you folks would be able to find legal counsel willing to do it on a contingency basis; especially given the current lawsuit Dr. Gold explains in the video.

      1. Already in the works. Mass Tort lawsuit, not class action. Stay tuned. It will be in the news once the suit is filed.

    3. Thank you FormerKP for sharing this video. I am sorry you were wrongfully terminated and had to go through added undue stress. Wishing you the best and thank you for standing up and spreading the word! It will make a difference!

  11. From Obama’s solyndra taxpayer baring the brunt escaping kaiser from their investment to Newsom…no wonder kaiser has been building “hospitals” like popcorn all over the state. Donations to democrats is paying out for them.
    Bribing political party is the real word it should be.

    Democrats fight more for illegals than citizens…this cannot end well

  12. Quid Pro Quo = Pay for Play. This is the Play Kaiser gets for Paying Newsom. SCOTUS has ruled that this form of Bribery is Free Speech. We have the best Government money can buy (so should not be surprised it’s awful).

      1. For those who are not familiar with the SCOTUS case Zola refers to, here it is:
        “What was the Supreme Court decision in Citizens United 2010?
        On January 21, 2010, the court issued a 5–4 decision in favor of Citizens United that struck down the BCRA’s restrictions on independent expenditures from corporate treasures as violations of the First Amendment. Five justices formed the majority and joined an opinion written by Justice Anthony Kennedy.”

  13. I’m wondering when First Co-Conspirator Jennifer Siebel Newsome will put out another award-winning puff piece/documentary touting the virtues of Kaiser? Follow the money….

  14. Weren’t these the guys that bought dinner at the French Laundry?
    Prostitutes like Newsom come pretty cheap I’d say.
    Or would whore be a more appropriate word?.

  15. I will bet you this as a sure thing. No politician in this state will ever step in a Kaiser for any medical treatment. They will have their on own private doctor and won’t have to wait in line for any procedure. Aren’t you happy you voted for him instead he should have been recalled. Great job all you Democrats you will regret this someday.

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