Garry Maisel is the CEO of Western Health Advantage, a regional HMO based in Sacramento. Before participating in a panel on whether or not Obamacare gives Sacramento more healthcare choices, he sat down in the Zócalo green room to talk about running an HMO, his love of dwarf mandarin orange trees–and to make a confession involving a McDonald’s drive-through.
What keeps you up at night?
Worries about implementing all the changes that have been required over the Affordable Care Act [ACA] over the last couple years. While folks think the ACA is here and it’s up and running and we’re good to go, the devil’s always in the details. There’s a whole lot left for plans and providers to get right.
How do you pass the time in a doctor’s office waiting room?
On my iPhone, reading email.
If you had one more hour in the day, what would you do with it?
I would probably exercise more.
When did you last eat fast food?
I last ate fast food on Saturday evening after returning from a Mondavi Center performance. I was starving, and at 10:30 at night I admit I went through a McDonald’s drive-through.
How should an out-of-town visitor spend a day in Sacramento?
Spend it in the midtown area around the Capitol enjoying the beautiful gardens and some of the wonderful new restaurants that have come to Sacramento over the last year or two. We’ve got quite the downtown/midtown dining scene, which is phenomenal.
Are you good at telling jokes?
Not really. Want me to tell one? [Yes!] This is the only joke I remembered in my entire adult life: Why did the elephant paint his toenails red? To hide in the cherry tree.
What’s your favorite household chore?
Watering the plants out on the back patio.
Do you have a favorite plant?
My dwarf mandarin orange tree.
What’s the hardest thing about running an HMO?
Wow. Trying to meet the many varied demands of our members.
What’s the ugliest tie you own?
Probably a New York, New York tie that was given to me, and which I don’t think I’ve ever worn.