Back in October I made three simple suggestions to incoming Blue Cross CEO Brad Wilson. I thought they were simple anyway. But in his first couple of months leading Blue Cross, Wilson violated the very first recommendation: stop lying about stupid stuff.
This time, the lie was about changing a provision to keep state prisoner health care costs high. The News & Observer reported that former state Sen. Tony Rand gutted a bill that would have tied reimbursement rates for inmate care to State Health plan rates. The change was made at the request of Blue Cross lobbyist Mark Fleming.
Brad Wilson immediately objected and even went to the N&O claiming the story was false. Except the N&O had emails between Fleming and Rand showing that its reporting was correct.
But Fleming insisted that the new language that Rand inserted into the bill was written by a legislative staffer. Really? The N&O asked why legislative staff would write the language and then send it to a lobbyist instead of sending it directly to Rand? Fleming’s new story:
“I don’t recall,” Fleming said. “I don’t remember where the language came from.”
Of course he doesn’t.
Then on Friday, Wilson finally admitted in a conference call with the N&O that Blue Cross did initiate the change, and that the paper’s reporting was “technically accurate” — which is public relations speak for “accurate”.
The gaffe factory that is Blue Cross would be entertaining if it didn’t hurt so many people.