About Michael Johnson

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Like most people, I want powerful institutions that violate the public trust to be exposed and stopped. So when I saw what was happening where I worked, I tried to do something about it.

While serving as public policy director for Blue Shield of California I discovered a scheme by the insurer to evade its obligations as a nonprofit and privatize billions of dollars in community assets.

I protested internally, even taking my objections to the CEO, but he dismissed them. So in 2015, after 12 years with Blue Shield, I resigned and began exposing the privatization plan and other ways the insurer shortchanges the public and policyholders. 

Some highlights of my whistleblowing so 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.

  • Prompting intensified regulatory scrutiny of a planned $1.2 billion acquisition deal by Blue Shield.

  • Exposing arguments Blue Shield had made to tax authorities in defense of its tax exemption that contradicted claims it was making to regulators that it has no legal duty to benefit the public.

  • Disclosing a $20 million golden parachute Blue Shield paid to its outgoing CEO and kept secret from regulators and the public.

  • 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.

  • Filing an IRS whistleblower claim alleging Blue Shield evaded $89 million in Affordable Care Act taxes on insurers.

  • Fighting a lawsuit by Blue Shield against my whistleblowing.