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Blue Shield CEO Surrenders

The long time CEO of Blue Shield Bruce Bodaken resigned today after a multi-year battle with us over disclosure of his $4.6 million annual salary and unreasonable premium hikes.

During his tenure, Bodaken oversaw a health insurance company that has raised rates by tens of millions of dollars while stockpiling $3.2 billion more in “reserves” than the state requires.

Blue Shield is one of the five health insurance companies funding the opposition to the ballot initiative we filed 800,000 signatures for last week.

It’s a good time for health insurance CEOs who don’t want sunlight on their operations and prices to retire. Whether Bodaken retired because he smelled the winds of change is something we don’t know. We do know that come November voters will have chance to let insurance company executives know that they will face transparency and accountability when they try to raise rates without any justification.

In the last three months alone, Blue Shield’s reserves have increased by $300 million even as it has raised rates.

Our ballot measure requires health insurance companies to get permission before raising rates and lets the insurance commissioner disallow excessive executive compensation, political expenditures, excessive reserves and lobbying costs in rate setting.

Thanks for all your support. We thought you would want to know that at least one of our big opponents is rethinking their priorities given Friday’s big filing.

Here’s a photo stream of the signature turn-in event in Los Angeles County, where 250,00 signatures were delivered by Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones, patients and our watchdogs.