Healthcare Business News

100 Most Powerful at a glance

By Cinda Becker
Posted: August 27, 2007 - 12:01 am ET

To view 2007's 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare, Click here.
For a complete, printable list of 2007's 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare, Click here.

  • For the first time since the list was introduced six years ago, a woman tops the ranking of the most powerful people in healthcare: Sister Carol Keehan, president and CEO of the Catholic Health Association. Three women—Keehan, Deborah Peel, founder and chairman of the Patient Privacy Rights Foundation, and presidential candidate Sen. Hillary Rodham Clinton (D-N.Y.)—are in the top 10, compared with 2006 when only two women (Clinton and Julie Gerberding, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) made it to the top 10. However, this year 22% of the 100 Most Powerful are women, compared with 26% in 2006.

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  • Four of the top 10 (Peel, Calif. Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, Dennis Rivera of the Service Employees International Union, and Sen. Barack Obama [D-Ill.] and a candidate for the presidency) are making their appearance on the list for the first time. Last year only one person debuted in the top 10: Allan Hubbard, White House economic policy adviser and director of the National Economic Council. Hubbard fell off the list this year.

  • In evidence of the recent political power shift in Washington, Sen. Max Baucus (D-Mont.) (No. 29), chairman of the Senate Finance Committee, who has been on the list three times, moves up above U.S. Rep. Pete Stark (D-Calif.) (No. 30), and Sen. Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) (No. 42); the latter pair have appeared on the list all six times. In 2006, when he chaired the Finance Committee, Grassley topped the three lawmakers at No. 11, closely followed by Baucus at No. 12 and Stark farther down at No. 78. This year, Speaker of the House Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) trumped them all, ranking No. 13 after debuting on the list last year at No. 75.

  • Last year, except for Bill Gates (No. 1) and Newt Gingrich (No. 5), all of the top 10 were either elected officials or had key posts in the federal government. This year only President Bush (No. 9), Clinton (No. 8) and Obama (No. 10) are among the top 10 who qualify as Washington officials.

  • Twenty healthcare leaders have appeared on all six of Modern Healthcare’s 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare. Three fell off the rankings this year: former Sen. Bill Frist (R-Tenn.), No. 3 in 2006; Dennis O’Leary, the retiring president of the Joint Commission, No. 25 in 2006; and James “Denny” Shelton, chairman, president and CEO of Triad Hospitals, No. 34 in 2006.

  • Regionalism rules the day. Except for Bush, one governor and a former governor pre-empt federal officials on the top 10 list. Last year, five administration officials were in the top 10: Bush (No. 2), HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt (No. 7), CMS Administrator Mark McClellan (No. 8), CDC Director Julie Gerberding (No. 9), and White House adviser Hubbard (No. 10.)

  • Richard Foster, a career federal civil service employee, is the top most powerful federal official after Bush and HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt (No. 11). Foster, CMS’ chief actuary (No. 16), inched out Food and Drug Administration Commissioner Andrew von Eschenbach (No. 17) and National Coordinator for Healthcare Information Technology Robert Kolodner (No. 18).

  • In an illustration of the fickleness of power, Kolodner’s predecessor, David Brailer, topped the list in 2004, ranked No. 8 in 2005, and No. 28 last year before falling off the list this year.

  • This year, a leader representing the health insurance industry makes her first appearance on the list at No. 33: Angela Braly, CEO of WellPoint. Michael McCallister, president and CEO of Humana, who debuted at No. 86 last year rose to No. 45 on this year’s list. In 2006, George Halvorson, chairman and CEO of Kaiser Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals, led the pack of insurers at No. 40. This year Halvorson ranks No. 60, his fifth appearance on the list. Karen Ignagni, president and CEO of America’s Health Insurance Plans, who has appeared on the list all six times, follows at No. 61.

  • The first association executive to top the annual 100 Most Powerful ranking, the CHA’s Keehan, made her debut on the list last year at No. 26 and was likewise the highest-ranking association executive. The next highest-ranking association leader on the list this year, appearing for the first time, is William Novelli, CEO of the AARP, No. 19.

    To view 2007's 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare, Click here.
    For a complete, printable list of 2007's 100 Most Powerful People in Healthcare, Click here.

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