Tom Epstein is vice president, public affairs of Blue Shield of California, a 3.2 million-member, $8 billion not-for-profit California health plan that provides health and life insurance products for the commercial, individual and government markets. He is the company’s principal spokesperson and oversees government relations, corporate communications, and philanthropy for California’s third largest health plan. He helped devise and launch Blue Shield’s well-received proposal for universal healthcare coverage.
Prior to joining Blue Shield, Mr. Epstein made a journey from Pennsylvania Avenue to Sesame Street. He served in the White House as a special assistant to the president for political affairs, handling sensitive political and policy issues during President Clinton’s first term. He was involved in the White House healthcare initiative and served as a key liaison to elected officials, business and community leaders. Later, he became vice president of communications for the Public Broadcasting Service, managing corporate public affairs and media relations for PBS television programs, ancillary products, education services and Web site.
Before moving to Washington, Mr. Epstein was deputy commissioner of the California Department of Insurance, where he served as a top policy strategist and principal spokesperson for Commissioner Garamendi. He directed all consumer marketing and communications activities and managed a 170-person staff that handled consumer inquiries and investigated potential violations of insurance law.
Mr. Epstein is the author of numerous published articles on topics ranging from the environment to government reform and international travel. He previously served on the board of directors of the California League of Conservation Voters, California Common Cause, and the Davis Community Clinic, and is a current member of the board of the Bay Area Council Economic Institute and Northern California Public Broadcasting.
Mr. Epstein earned a J.D. from UCLA School of Law and a bachelor’s degree in economics from the Wharton School of the University of Pennsylvania. He is a member of the California Bar.