The Blue Cross plan to gut reform

The anti-consumer bill written by Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina to implement health reform in the state will eviscerate the protections promised to individuals and small businesses.

Insurance agent Jerry Dockham filed the legislation to create a health benefits exchange in North Carolina where people will get coverage if they are not offered an affordable policy through work. The bill cleverly cuts the protections out of federal reform by sapping the exchange of its regulatory powers and turning over governance to organizations that are trying to repeal reform.

The board overseeing the exchange in Dockham’s bill includes the Commissioner of Insurance as a nonvoting member. So who are the 11 voting members?

Well, there is one permanent seat for Blue Cross and Blue Shield. You didn’t think they would pass up that opportunity did you? And there are two other seats for insurers, making insurance companies the largest voting block on the board.

Remember, Blue Cross said nice things about wanting reform but specifically opposed the Affordable Care Act.

Then there is a seat for an insurance agent. They mostly opposed reform and they tend to hate health exchanges because it just makes buying insurance to darn easy.

There is a seat for the North Carolina Chamber and the NFIB. These organizations are actively trying to repeal reform. It will be much easier once they control implementation. During the debate the NFIB was clearly well informed about implementation (see video).

There are two consumers on the board. Dockham wants to make sure that there are fewer consumers than health insurance representatives, because this bill is about health insurance companies, not consumers.

The North Carolina Hospital Association has a seat on the board, although they have remained silent on what they think of this terrible insurance company legislation. And the North Carolina Medical Society has a spot. The NCMS, of course, gets money from Blue Cross and the NCMS CEO called the Affordable Care Act “un-American“.

Oh, and there is a health economist on the board.

There you have it, 7 out of the 11 board members either opposed reform or are actively seeking its repeal. Depending on the consumers and the health economist and the hospital we could have an entire board that hates the Affordable Care Act and wants it dismantled.

If the Blue Cross bill (HB 115) isn’t stopped reform will be destroyed from the inside.

8 Comments

  1. [...] The Progressive Pulse [...]

  2. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Pharma Si, Victoria Evans. Victoria Evans said: The Blue Cross plan to gut reform http://bit.ly/egG8HP [...]

  3. matt

    February 21, 2011 at 10:44 pm

    … and our government is elected and appointed to protect its citizens and small businesses? I am stunned by the bias designed into the decision making.

  4. Alex O.

    February 22, 2011 at 12:05 am

    “Abandon hope all ye who enter here should” should be engraved on the front door of the NC Legislature. NCBCBS will be my death panel. Profits above people.

  5. lillianquon

    February 22, 2011 at 1:49 am

    I think that health care reform is a great idea. I have type 1 diabetes and for me to get insurance, it was a nightmare until I found “Wise Health Insurance” search for them online and you can get affordable health insurance instantly.

  6. Alex

    February 22, 2011 at 6:32 am

    Why was tort reform excluded from health reform?

  7. Steve Mamnya

    February 22, 2011 at 7:14 am

    Alex,

    No idea, but remember, they are bosses here… they can do what they want to.

  8. AdamL

    February 22, 2011 at 9:56 am

    Alex,

    There is the larger issue that we aren’t sure how best to do tort reform. Just instituting caps hasn’t done anything to control costs or improve care in states that have tried it like Texas.

    But I think the real reason is that the administration immediately took a few issues off the table that would sink any reform discussion. For example, reform does almost nothing to address rising drug prices. But there are so many interest groups with so much money and so many different opinions about what to do that reforming how we pay for drugs would have killed reform. It’s the same with tort reform.

    But none of this has anything to do with the Blue Cross bill, which is a terrible bill no matter your political party or ideological leanings. It’s just about a power grab by a powerful company.