Act like a real nonprofit or give the public back its $10 billion
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Nonprofit healthcare organizations that receive big tax benefits are supposed to serve the best interests of the public.
That’s not what’s happening at Blue Shield of California. Up until March of this year, I was Director of Public Policy. But with Blue Shield disregarding its nonprofit duties and senior management refusing to change course, I resigned my position. I now need your help to send a message to Blue Shield that it’s time to either get serious about doing public good or give back to the public the $10 billion in nonprofit funds that they hold.
Blue Shield is not supposed to be like other health insurance companies.
Officially, Blue Shield is a nonprofit social welfare organization. And because it promised to serve the public interest, it was granted a tax exemption.
But Blue Shield executives run it like a for-profit company: billions in profits, multi-million dollar pay for executives, the same high rates as for-profit insurers--all the while depriving the public of the social welfare benefits taxpayers have paid it to provide.
One solution would be for Blue Shield to relinquish to the public its nonprofit funds so that they could be used to improve community access to healthcare. And there’s precedent for this. In the 1990s, two California nonprofit health insurers that turned away from serving a public interest mission were forced to transfer billions of dollars to public benefit foundations.
The other solution would be for Blue Shield to act like a real nonprofit. Since Blue Shield is sitting on about $10 billion in nonprofit assets, it should be providing about $500 million a year in community benefits--an annual return of 5%, which is standard for nonprofit public benefit foundations.
So join with me, and demand that Blue Shield do its duty as a nonprofit or give back to the public the $10 billion in community benefit assets that it holds.
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