Former Lieutenant Governor Greg Bell will now lead Utah’s medical industry lobby as President and CEO of the Utah Hospital Association. The UHA board of Trustees announced the decision today, a month after Bell resigned from Governor Gary Herbert’s office.
Bell says he returned to the private sector to meet some financial obligations and save for retirement. He says he had several offers but accepted this proposition because he’s particularly concerned with healthcare. He says hospitals will need leadership in dealing with the implementation of the affordable care act and of course Utah’s forthcoming decision to expand or not expand Medicaid.
“The hospitals have an important role in that because they’re obviously a major provider of services and this is a big part of their compensation,” Bell says. “And to the degree that they don’t get compensated from Medicaid then they have to spread their cost among private insurance. So we all have an investment here.”
Bell has plenty of experience in healthcare policy. He chairs the governor’s Tort Reform Medical Liability Workgroup as well as the Executive Health Policy Group, composed of Utah’s top healthcare policy leaders. He also served as a state senator on the Legislative Health Reform Task Force.
Bell says his daily work-life is going to change significantly in this new position. As Lieutenant governor, he says every hour of the day was programmed with events and assignments. He had very little spare time.
“This is more long-term, reflective, policy, not quite the urgency,” Bell says. “So it will have I think a slower pace and it won’t’ be quite as political but it will have a lot of policy work to it. And that’s what really draws me.”
Bell says he won’t be actively lobbying the state legislature, at least for now. As a former executive-branch employee, he’s restricted from lobbying for one year, although he can still meet with public officials.