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Blue Cross Power Grab Loses <em>Some</em> Steam - <em>For Now</em>

Jeremy Sprinkle
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Insurance Commissioner Wayne Goodwin offers third way

This is an update of a post last week about Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina's effort to win swift passage of a bill (H115) which would put the health insurance giant in control of the Competitive Health Insurance Marketplace required by the health reform law.  It is a classic example of the fox wanting to guard the hen house.

This week, at a packed hearing of the Health Committee to discuss the Blue Cross-backed legislation and an alternative, carefully negotiated proposal put for the by the Institute of Medicine, North Carolina Commissioner of Insurance, Wayne Goodwin offered a third way forward, reports Adam Searing:

Goodwin presented to the committee the outline of a potential compromise proposal on governing the new NC Health Marketplace.  Rather than allowing insurers on the board of the marketplace, Goodwin’s idea is to have a core board of experts in health care economics, markets and policy – all without financial conflicts of interest (like working for a health insurance company).  He would then set up several official board advisory committees to the Marketplace:  one of insurers, one of providers, one of consumers, one of businesses, etc., who would all offer their expertise to the board through individual ex-officio non-voting members.

As always, the devil will be in the details, says Adam Searing of Commissioner Goodwin's proposal:

Of course, the details of what ability the Marketplace will have to offer consumers a real choice of competing health plans – and not just a “pick which Blue Cross plan you like the most” option is another important detail that only started to receive discussion in the committee

Click here to read more about the update on the exchange bill.

Keep calling the Health Committee

Even if it was just to say "I'm a constituent, and I'm against the Blue Cross power grab, HB 115" - members of the Health Committee need to hear your calls.  Giving Blue Cross voting power on the health exchange is a blatant financial conflict of interest.  This kind of crony capitalism is the last thing our health care system needs in North Carolina.

Click here for a list of names, phone numbers and email addresses for members of the Health Committee.