He studied his first degree in an anti-war college in the 1960s, and later for a Master’s degree in Philosophy at the University of Colorado, where he eventually did his doctoral course work (Julie A. 2004). He later joined the School of Philosophy as an associate lecturer in the mid 1970s where he taught and studied. While in his teaching career, he was thoughtful about the education system. He realized that his students, however enthusiastic they were, could not appreciate the studies they were undertaking (Julie Appleby, 2004). In the 1980s, he stopped his teaching job and later worked in an insurance company which was on the verge of collapse. The non-profit making insurance company was receiving a hostile response from the public.
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Currently, he works as the chairman, President and the CEO for Blue Shield of California, which is a non-profit health insurance company. Under his leadership, the insurance company is ranked as the fastest growing company in California. He also serves in various boards such as the American Association of Health Plans. He influenced the Health Maintenance Organization of California to support free evaluation of doctors who denied health malpractice which was later put in the law. He also mobilized actors in the insurance industry in Washington DC for the adoption of an overall plan that was formulated by Blue Shield (Julie Appleby, 2004).
Since he became the CEO of Blue Shield, positive changes have occurred in the company, making it a highly profitable company. Prior to this, he acted as the deputy CEO in the same company in the year 1999. During this time, Blue Shield gathered a net income of $16.9 million as well as a reserve fund of $547 million (Julie Appleby, 2004). There was a rise in administrative fixed costs by 16, but the net income grew by more than three and a half times when he was deputy CEO, to a high of $62 and over time, the net income has risen to $314 million. Under his leadership he has demonstrated management practices that led to a decrease in overhead costs as well as substantial growth in reserve fund. The company enjoys a reserve fund that is close to $1.1 billion (Blue Shield of California, 2008).
Blue shield has been categorized as one of the fastest growing insurance company. Last year, Blue Shield registered 392,000 members, raising its total to 2.7 million (Blue Shield of California, 2008). This was as a result of an idea that he raised, of registering members through the public retirement system of California. In 2002, he put forward a particular application for collective coverage. No other CEO in other Health plans had made such a proposal. Through this proposal, Bruce Bodaken had perfectly predicted the Massachusetts legislation. This was a health care measure that was ratified in 2006, to reinforce the state’s basic care arrangements, by attending to primary care workforce deficiency while supporting the existing health care plan.
Bruce Bodaken’s leadership
He is a charismatic leader who encourages participation of all staff in decision making. He guides the company by inculcating liveliness and enthusiasm to the working team. He is a leader who is committed to the advancement of the company and endeavors to ensure its success in the long run. Success in the Blue Shield insurance is credited to his leadership style. His working team describes him as a non flamboyant manager who gets the job done and does not have time for jokes (Julie Appleby, 2004). He is portrayed as a leader who takes time to listen considerately laying much emphasis to debate, and eventually makes decisions that at times are tough depending on the situation.
He believes logical sanguinity and also that leaders should always take the responsibility of their plans, and promises that they have made to other people. He believes that leaders should not ignore the fact that while undertaking a particular venture, a leader should bear in mind the logic behind it. They should always bear in mind why and for whose benefit the venture is being undertaken. Bruce Bodaken is a time conscious leader who likes to complete his tasks on time (Julie Appleby, 2004).
The following are four factors which he understands should be considered in order to achieve health care for all.
1. Responsibility: He believes that ensuring collective responsibility will boost realization of the goal. This is a situation where by dependability will be shared amongst entrepreneurs, the government and the society in general in order to disperse the cost of health widely. In such a case, the trouble of high cost will cease in the population. This is an important view because currently, many people in the working population can not afford health insurance.
2. Contribution: He believes that there are also many people who could afford to contribute to insurance costs other than businesses alone but they do not. If every body could contribute a reasonable share depending on the income, they could acquire insurance covers at low prices.
3. Strength of insurance coverage: He advocates for strong insurance coverage to the public and private that is in place today, which will make it possible to offer insurance cover to all. This is contrary to what some people propose, such as upending the contemporary insurance system.
4. Honesty: He believes that honesty must be present in the administration of policies. Honesty is an important factor to the accomplishment of the goal of providing health insurance for all. A lot of money is needed in order to provide health insurance. Bruce Bodaken believes that policy makers and overall coverage advocates need to be honest for the goal to be realized.
Because the cost of providing insurance coverage to all is quite expensive, he feels that there is need to exercise restraint. This means that at first, only the essential benefits should be provided to every body. This will help in ensuring that businesses are not overburdened by too much cost, a situation that may hamper realization of the set goals.
Details on Health care
The uninsured people have become a major issue of concern. He sees this as a factor that will lead to a major crisis in the health sector. The uninsured Americans who number above 15 percent face severe health problems. These problems eventually belong to the whole society since the suffering people are rendered economically unproductive. Earlier studies show that more than 65 billion US Dollars are lost in terms of economic productivity while much more gets lost as costs arising from uncompensated care (Julie Appleby, 2004). There is also a rising overcrowding in many public emergency rooms. Currently, there is an escalating trend in health care costs, which has made it difficult for Americans to pay for their share of medical costs.
Lack of health insurance cover has adverse impacts on the lives of Americans. It makes people suspend the crucial medical care that culminates in an increase in mortality rate leading to loss of human resources. This adversely affects the economy, since innovations and entrepreneurship can only be achieved through a healthy work force. The productivity of the nation is reduced and a significant amount of money is lost through a rise in health care expenses. It also poses a risk to the Americans who have secured coverage. Many of the uninsured people are normally unable to pay bills
In California, a large number of people that are insured are adults who contribute the largest percentage of personal health care. The percentage expenditure of insured adults account for 69% while the percentage insured children is 18% (Julie Appleby, 2004). On the other hand, the uninsured have an overall expenditure of 12%. This amount is paid directly from the pockets of the uninsured and other sources such as employers and caretakers. In America, employers are the main channel for their employees to acquire insurance. However, health insurance coverage may not be guaranteed by employment since many people are engaging in private enterprises and a large number is unemployed.
The instability of health insurance has been destabilized by the change in the financial system of America. This has occurred in form of a shift from the initial manufacturing financial system to an economy based on services. This has led to a change in the human resources working orientation. Health insurance in the service enterprises does not emphasize much on the provision of health insurance, unlike in the manufacturing enterprises where it is offered. There has also cropped up a large number of human resources that is engaged in part time employment, who do not qualify for insurance coverage due to their nature of work. This is an indication that there are many employees who are not insured. On the other hand the high premiums for health coverage are not affordable to small scale employers. They tend to persuade the employees to put in a larger contribution for their coverage. This results in employees opting not to contribute in a view that it is a reduction in their salaries. This raises the number of uncovered workers.
The ideas of Bruce Bodaken are geared towards the realization of a healthy society, in which the challenges concerning the whole nation in health matters are shared. Shared responsibility in health care has not been embraced by the people who should be spearheading the debates for general medical coverage in America. These people include the politicians who could use their positions to advocate for this policy. Unnecessary deaths may occur due to lack of coverage. This should be avoided in the United States since the nation is the leading spender towards healthcare internationally. On the other hand it is a wealthy and developed nation that should ensure that all citizens are covered. Many other developed nations such as have succeeded in ensuring coverage for all. In order to ensure that the coverage is acquired for all, elected officials and politicians should cooperate with policy makers for the best policies to be formulated.
- Blue Shield of California (2008). Chairman, President and Chief Executive Officer, Retrieved on 21 November 2008 from
- Julie A. (2004). Blue Shield CEO has optimism for health care. Retrieved on 21 November 2008 from
- National Coalition on Health Care, (2002).Health Insurance Costs. Retrieved on 21 November 2008 from