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.