Michael Johns

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Born September 8, 1964 in Allentown, Pennsylvania. Graduate, Emmaus High School (Emmaus, Pennsylvania), 1982. Bachelors in Business Administration, University of Miami (Coral Gables, Florida), 1986. Resides currently in Deptford, New Jersey.

Much of the career of Michael Johns has been spent working in corporate health care. He has worked for the pharmaceutical transnational Eli Lilly, in the health care practice of a leading Philadelphia consulting firm and, since 2000, as vice president of Gentiva Health Services, a Fortune 1000 corporation. As part of Gentiva senior management, Johns helped lead a quintupling of the company's market capitalization and one of the largest corporate health care acquisitions in recent years [1]. He also has defended the interests of publicly-traded companies, including as a founding member of the influential CEO Council.

In January 2001, Gentiva lost an Ohio-based age-discrimination suit filed in 1998 against the company's former parent company. Because Gentiva had indemnified their former parent company as part of a previous split-off from the parent company, an Ohio jury levied damages of $30m against Gentiva. A report at the time quoted Johns as saying, "We are not pleased - and in fact, are shocked - at the size of the jury verdict" [2]; the case was subsequently settled for an undisclosed sum [3].

In June 2002, Johns was appointed General Manager of Marketing for North and South America at Swiss International Air Lines. [4]

In his health care roles, Johns has advocated a moderate course on American health care policy, vigorously supporting the need to protect biopharmaceutical and free market health care innovation, while simultaneously defending the need to protect Medicare, Medicaid and other governmental health programs for the nation's elderly, poor and disabled.

An influential advocate for many of the prominent themes of mainstream conservatism, Johns also has held high-level posts in American government and public policy. His writings on American foreign policy in the 1980s helped shape and promote the foreign policy of the Reagan administration. He was one of the original advocates of the so-called "Reagan doctrine," successfully urging the United States to support forces opposing Soviet client states; he also was one of the first Reagan Doctrine advocates to actually visit the front lines of these hot spots (Angola, Cambodia, Nicaragua, and the former Soviet Republics) with regularity. Some advocates for Johns credit him with helping turn Washington's intellectual tide away from containment of the Soviet Union (as advocated by post-war American leaders, such as Franklin D. Roosevelt and Harry S. Truman) and toward a more aggressive approach dedicated to the "rollback" of global communism. Many conservative historians now credit this latter approach with leading, ultimately, to the collapse of the former Soviet Union.

Following the Cold War's end, Johns helped advance pro-active American engagement in the post-Cold War world, running U.S. government-funded international economic and political development projects in post-war Kuwait, Turkey and other nations.

Johns has worked at the conservative Heritage Foundation and with leading figures on the American right. However, he has also been tapped by moderate Republicans, including former New Jersey Governor Thomas H. Kean, U.S. Senator Olympia Snowe and former President George H.W. Bush (for whom he served as a White House speech writer). In the first Bush White House, he helped define and advocate some of the policies that have come to be known as "compassionate conservatism," focusing on outreach to low and middle-income Americans and non-traditional Republican constituencies.

Supporting the 'Reagan Doctrine'

During the late 1980s and early 1990s, Johns was a key player in securing continued United States support for the UNITA rebels of Jonas Savimbi. On at least one occasion, Johns visited a UNITA training camp in the Angolan bush. The visit was revealed in an article by Johns about Angola, that was quoted by Representative Dan Burton (R-Indiana) in the House of Representatives in 1989. In it, Johns wrote: "Savimbi told conservative leader Howard Phillips and me last March during a visit to Savimbi's headquarters in the Angolan bush, 'there are a lot of loopholes in [the Angola/Namibia agreement]. The agreement is not good at all.'" [5]

In October 1990, Representative Don Ritter (R-Pennsylvania) used an analysis by Michael Johns to support his opposition to HR 5422. This resolution sought to cut aid to UNITA. In his analysis, Johns wrote "In Angola, where a civil war has raged for 15 years between the country's Soviet-backed Marxist regime and an American-supported resistance movement, peace and freedom are now within sight." He concluded: "American assistance to UNITA continues to be the only hope for peace and freedom in Angola." [6] However, in the case of Angola, Johns's faith in the ability of the United States to foster peace and democracy by funding insurgent groups appears to have been misplaced. Following its electoral failure in 1992, UNITA resumed its armed insurgency, which was only brought to an end by the death of Savimbi in an ambush in February 2002 [7].

Some clues as to Johns's views on U.S. engagement in Latin America can be gleaned from his implicit defense of Ronald Reagan over the Iran/Contra scandal, in a 1987 edition of the conservative magazine Policy Review. He wrote: "Up against the ropes in the Iran-Contra affair, Ronald Reagan should have come out swinging, announcing clearly that this government carries itself in the tradition of the Marquis de Lafayette, that freedom fighters will no longer be left to die in the jungle, like Brigade 2506 at the Bay of Pigs." [8]

Indeed, Johns was an enthusiastic advocate for the contras. In a 1988 article, he described the contras as "the largest armed resistance movement since the Mexican Revolution", and went on to describe them as "Nicaragua's democratic resistance".


SourceWatch resources

External links (1987 to current)

Articles by Michael Johns

Articles that quote Michael Johns

  • Gentiva vice president Michael Johns quoted in "Gentiva Makes $415M Deal," Newsday, January 3, 2002 [19].
  • Gentiva vice president Michael Johns announces renewal of company's national contract with CIGNA Healthcare, [20].
  • Gentiva vice president Michael Johns announces company's presentation at JP Morgan Chase Bank Health Care Conference, San Francisco, [21].
  • Gentiva vice president Michael Johns announces company's presentation at Salomon Smith Barney Health Care Conference, New York City, [22].
  • Gentiva vice president Michael Johns comments on company's response to September 11, 2001 attacks in "Customer Concerns Mount in Tragedy Aftermath," [23].
  • Gentiva vice president Michael Johns announces company's authorization to redeem convertible securities, [24].
  • Susanne Hopkins, ""Suit Could Cost Gentiva $30M+".
  • U.S. vice presidential candidate Jack F. Kemp and Congressman Donald M. Payne cite Johns' views on economic promise of Africa, Investor's Business Daily, June 20, 1997, [25].
  • Hmong Studies Journal cites "Acts of Betrayal," by Michael Johns, National Review, October 23, 1995 [26].
  • ""Ethiopian Regime Looks West for Helping Hand", The Christian Science Monitor," May 16, 1989.