About Michael Johnson
Like a lot of people, I get angry hearing about greed and corruption at the top--about all of the ways Wall Street and other corporate elites rig the game in their favor and cheat the public.
That’s how I felt when I saw what was happening where I worked. While serving as Public Policy Director for Blue Shield of California I discovered a scheme by the nonprofit health plan’s top executives to evade public accountability and privatize billions of dollars in community assets. (More on the scheme is here and here.)
I protested internally, raising my objections with the CEO, but to no avail. So in March 2015, after 12 years with the organization, I resigned and launched a campaign to expose Blue Shield’s privatization scheme and other abuses of its nonprofit status.
Some highlights of my campaign thus far:
- Tipping off the Los Angeles Times to information that led the paper to discover the revocation of Blue Shield’s tax exemption, which until then had been kept under wraps by Blue Shield and state tax authorities.
- Successfully calling for intensified regulatory scrutiny of a planned $1.2 billion acquisition deal by Blue Shield.
- Disclosing arguments Blue Shield had made to tax authorities that contradicted its claims to health plan regulators that it has no legal obligation to do public good.
- Disclosing a $20 million golden parachute Blue Shield had paid to its outgoing CEO and kept secret from regulators and the public.
- Uncovering and reporting to regulators evidence that Blue Shield shortchanged consumers by $34 million and prompting a class action lawsuit to force it to pay consumers what it owes them.
- Battling a Blue Shield lawsuit against me over my whistle-blowing.