Peterson on Prop. 29 and Voter Skepticism

Public Policy interim chair Mark Peterson spoke to the Los Angeles Times about controversies surrounding Proposition 29, which would require a licensed medical professional to be present while dialysis patients are receiving treatment at the state’s 600 dialysis centers. The measure would also require centers to disclose physician ownership interests and patient infection data. Peterson said voters are often skeptical about issues that they are not properly informed about — in this case, the “high levels of technical detail” about the treatment and care that dialysis patients need. That skepticism is heightened when private interests are involved, he said. “When there is a special interest from one side or the other that’s really pushing a particular ballot initiative, voters add on to their underlying suspicion this general skepticism of why is the ballot initiative process being used by a special interest?”


Gary Segura Reappointed to 2nd Term as UCLA Luskin Dean

Gary Segura will be continuing as dean of the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs.

An announcement to the UCLA campus was issued May 5 by Michael S. Levine, interim executive vice chancellor and provost. Here is the text of that announcement:

Following the customary administrative review, I am pleased to share that Gary Segura has been reappointed for a second term as the dean of the Luskin School of Public Affairs. The review committee praised Dean Segura for his leadership skills, his commitment to faculty excellence and diversity, and his pioneering efforts to elevate and expand his school’s academic offerings.

Since his appointment in 2016, Dean Segura has fostered within the Luskin School a deep commitment to academic excellence and to equity, diversity and inclusion that has led to a highly diverse pool of students in the school’s programs and the appointment of renowned scholars in areas such as poverty and inequality, immigration, criminal justice, education policy and more. In 2021, Luskin School faculty members were among the top 2% for scholarly citations worldwide in their respective fields. The Luskin School is one of the most diverse schools of its kind in the UC system and amongst public affairs programs throughout the country.

Over the last five years, Dean Segura has helped to cement the Luskin School’s status as a leader in research, teaching and practice across the areas of social welfare, urban planning and public policy. Recognizing growing demand for his school’s programs, in 2018 he led the development of the undergraduate major in public affairs, which provides a multidisciplinary foundation in social science theories, data collection and analysis. Additionally, the school launched a certificate program in data analytics in fall 2021 and added a new dual master’s degree program offered jointly by our Urban Planning Department and the Urban School of Sciences Po in Paris.

Dean Segura also co-founded the UCLA Latino Policy and Politics Initiative in 2017 to address inequities and spread awareness of the most critical domestic policy challenges facing Latinos and other communities of color. The initiative received $3 million in ongoing annual state funding for its research, advocacy and mobilization efforts.

We are grateful to have such a dedicated leader as Dean Segura at the helm of the Luskin School. Chancellor Block and I look forward to his continued efforts to strengthen and advance the public affairs disciplines at UCLA and to the impact his work will have on diverse communities near and far.

Please join me in congratulating Dean Segura on his accomplishments over the past five years and in wishing him success throughout his second term.


Michael S. Levine
Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost

Peterson on Power of Health Care Industry

Professor of Public Policy Mark Peterson  spoke to California Healthline about Gov. Gavin Newsom’s pledge to lower health care costs in California. During his campaign for governor, Newsom promised to lead California’s single-payer movement, eliminate private insurance and decrease the amount that providers are paid. Polls show that the majority of California voters agree on the importance of making health care more affordable. Powerful interests in the health care industry have pushed back against legislative efforts to reduce health care costs, however, and the COVID-19 pandemic further strengthened their influence. “There’s no question this industry has power. The real question is what they do with it,” Peterson said. ““They’re getting wins, and important ones.” During the recent recall election, health care executives helped keep Newsom in office by supporting his campaign. Newsom will likely face pressure from both sides when he runs for reelection next year.

Peterson on Payback Expectations Among Newsom Supporters

Public Policy Professor Mark Peterson spoke with California Healthline about prospects that unions defending Gov. Gavin Newsom against a recall attempt will in return seek stronger action on instituting single-payer health insurance in California. Organized labor made hundreds of thousands of dollars in political contributions, purchased ads and phone-banked to defend Newsom ahead of Tuesday’s recall election. “This is a crucial moment for Newsom, and for his supporters who are lining up behind him,” said Peterson, who specializes in the politics of health care. “They’re helping him stay in office, but that comes with an expectation for some action.” In 2018, Newsom made a campaign pledge to establish a government-run, single-payer health care system in the state, but it’s unclear whether he could deliver such a massive shift. In addition, if he withstands the recall, the governor will face competing demands to reward supporters pushing for action on issues such as homelessness, climate change and public safety.

Peterson Discusses Newsom’s Support Among Health-Care Workers

Public Policy Professor Mark Peterson was mentioned in a Kaiser Health News article about support for Gov. Gavin Newsom among health-care workers as the recall election approaches. Although many Californians expressed frustration with Newsom’s approach to the pandemic, including closing businesses, keeping schoolchildren at home and mandating masks, health-care workers have credited those same pandemic measures for protecting them as frontline workers and saving the lives of numerous Californians. Now, health-care unions and trade associations have donated more than $4.8 million to the campaign to keep Newsom in office. “If you’re in health care or public health, the prospect of Newsom being booted from office is worrisome, especially if you want the state to continue combating the pandemic,” Peterson said. “I don’t think anyone who would be replacing the governor in the recall would be anywhere near as aggressive and might actually reverse the public health actions that have been taken.”

Read the article

Peterson Weighs In on Objections to Becerra’s Nomination

An article examining opposition to the confirmation of Health and Human Services Secretary nominee Xavier Becerra cited Public Policy Professor Mark Peterson. Conservative groups are targeting Becerra’s long track record in support of government-run health care, calling it “hostile to our current system.” However, the article from Politifact and Kaiser Health News noted that President Joe Biden does not support “Medicare for All,” meaning that Becerra’s ability to advance it would be constrained if he is confirmed. Becerra is California’s attorney general, and Peterson said Republicans have a history of painting Democrats from the state as “socialists.” “They’re arguing it’s just showing the infiltration of the radical socialist California state into the federal government,” Peterson said. “But this is ridiculous, because there are not socialist politics, per se, happening in California, and often the California Democrats in Washington are moderate.”

Peterson on Lawmakers and Voters Breaking Away From the GOP

Public Policy Professor Mark Peterson spoke to the American Independent about the decision of some Republicans to leave their party after the Jan. 6 assault on the U.S. Capitol by supporters of former President Donald Trump. While many GOP officials stand by Trump, an unusually high number of current and former lawmakers, as well as voters, are quitting the party, deepening its ideological divide. Peterson said that while the exodus is a break from the norm, the long-term impact is unclear. Continued attention on Trump’s performance in office might reduce his hold on voters, he said. The article also noted that party dynamics may change if GOP lawmakers struggle to get out the vote without Trump on the ticket.

Peterson on Unfortunate Politicization of COVID-19 Vaccine

Professor of Public Policy Mark Peterson was featured on Scholars’ Circle, a nationally distributed radio program and podcast, about the U.S. response to COVID-19. As cases spike across the country, newly approved vaccines promise some relief. However, Peterson noted that we have never been so divided as a country. “The emergence of a vaccine ought to be a positive for everyone, but instead it’s caught up in all the distrust,” he said. The incoming Biden-Harris administration is not getting the necessary information about plans for distributing the vaccine, which will be a significant challenge, he said. “None of this should be affected by politics or partisanship or polarization in the country,” Peterson said, noting that President Donald Trump and his administration “have made it all the more complicated by sowing distrust in people.” Moving forward, Peterson stressed the importance of “providing resources to allow people to make it through without financial disaster and support public health provisions at the same time.”

Peterson on Becerra’s Impact on California’s Progressive Agenda

Public Policy Professor Mark Peterson spoke with Kaiser Health News about prospects that California’s health care agenda will grow more progressive once the state’s attorney general, Xavier Becerra, is elevated to the nation’s top health care post. In his three decades of political experience, Becerra has been a strong advocate of health-care reforms including a state-level single-payer system, environmental justice and protecting immigrants’ access to safety-net care. Many California Democrats believe his selection as the next U.S. secretary of health and human services will give them a strong federal ally who will help make the state a laboratory for progressive ideas. Should Becerra back a progressive health agenda in California, similar proposals could follow in other states, Peterson said. “California has pushed the envelope on health care beyond where other states are,” he said. “And that gives more capacity for California sensibilities and ideas to get into the mix in Washington.”