State Health Plan held hostage

That’s how the State Employees Association of North Carolina characterizes the lack of action in the General Assembly. SEANC is specifically promoting two bills, one to move oversight of the State Health Plan out of the legislature and another to repeal the fat tax on state workers. Both of these bills make eminent sense.

Leadership at the legislature is declining to move any bills while a blue ribbon task force considers the future of the State Health Plan. There are two problems with this logic. One is that the task force has thus far only heard lectures from “Dr.” Jack Walker without any outside advice. The second problem is that penalizing people based on an index of body mass is crass and ridiculous and should have never passed legislative muster. The fat tax should be repealed and repealed at once, no more study is needed.

We also know that the General Assembly should not control the State Health Plan. Every audit ever conducted on the plan has recommended its relocation. Where it should go is a bit of a problem. Legislators have made such a hash of the State Health Plan that no one wants it. But it must go somewhere. If the blue ribbon task force will get to work perhaps it could find a suitable fit.

11 Comments

  1. NCDude

    June 29, 2010 at 7:39 am

    How has the GA made “such a hash” of the SHP, except that until recently 5 years of service entitled one to free health care at 65?

    All of those 5 yr employees will begin reaching 65 soon, as boomers are going to do. What is needed is to charge these free loaders higher copays than truly retired state employees, i.e. those with more than 20 yrs service, and current state employees, and raise everyone’s copay to cope with rising costs. Otherwise, this comes out of the taxpayers pocket, who’ve been stressed enough in this restructuring of the economy.

    I don’t see any suggestions on your part, Adam, that will do anything but add to state spending, but I understand, you’re a liberal, and that’s what liberals do, spend the taxpayers money. Now, if only you could be trusted to spend it prudently and live within your means.

  2. AdamL

    June 29, 2010 at 11:18 am

    Seriously? How has the GA made a hash of the SHP? Where to begin.

    As many audits have noted, GA oversight was nonexistent and allowed the SHP to completely crash. The GA allowed the SHP to sign a ridiculous contract with BCBSNC. The GA never demanded that BCBS renegotiate, even though there is precedent for reopening contracts such as this. The GA hired someone with a bogus PhD who has had ethics problems in the past to run the plan instead of conducting a national search. The GA caved to pressure to maintain a generous contract with BCBS and with pharmicists instead of saving money in the plan. The GA passed a special provision allowing for a no bid contract to administer the SHP.

    I could go on as could anyone who has paid a bit of attention. All of my suggestions involve spending less, not more, money. What specific recommendation did I make that would involve spending more money?

  3. Kay

    June 29, 2010 at 11:38 am

    Anyone know why the GA wants to retain control of the Plan? Clearly their management of the Plan is costing their constituents more than would a well-managed plan,

    Why not reassign the Plan to someone with relevant management expertise?

  4. AdamL

    June 29, 2010 at 11:52 am

    It’s a lot of money so the GA wants some control over it. Also it’s a nice way to hand out favors to special interests. But at this point I think it has become a bit of a political liability. The problem is that no one else wants a political liability.

  5. Jay

    June 29, 2010 at 12:22 pm

    my understanding of state retirement and the SHP is that once you become eligible for medicare (age 65? 66?? 67???), medicare becomes your primary health-care provider (you are removed from the SHP).

  6. TomS

    June 29, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Jay:

    No….medicare becomes primary, yes. But you will have the SHP as secondary.

  7. Adam Linker

    June 29, 2010 at 2:22 pm

    Sorry Jay, I missed your comment. TomS has it right. You don’t lose the SHP after 65.

  8. BIG LOU

    June 29, 2010 at 8:12 pm

    At a meeting some years ago, a state worker asked “Dr.” Jack Walker who his boss was/who he answered to.. His answer was,”I don’t have a boss,” in a very crass manner.

  9. sademp

    June 30, 2010 at 4:03 pm

    What Ph.D. does Walker claim?

  10. AdamL

    June 30, 2010 at 4:52 pm

  11. sademp

    June 30, 2010 at 8:06 pm

    Ah yes, the “school” of “Dr.” John Gray as well.