Category: ACA and Policy, Government Programs, Health Insurance

The ACA Goes to Court, Part 237!  (Ok, I’m not really counting)

A little over 10 years ago, I was sitting in a tiny hotel room in Washington, D.C., waiting for a phone call from a friend who is a lobbyist for our Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association. It was Christmas Eve 2009, and we were awaiting the final vote of the U.S. Senate on the Affordable Care Act (ACA). I remember very clearly thinking that there was nothing to stop the then-Democratic majority from passing the ACA. Certainly, they had put a ton of work, time and effort into the law. But — they put much less time into gaining the trust of the opposition.

I also remember thinking, “Are they really going to redirect 20% of the nation’s economy and create millions of new winners and losers on a straight party-line vote, without a single compromise to bring some of the opposition into the tent?”

Well, they did. And at that moment, a quote from the Roman Orator Cicero jumped into my head unbidden: “Endless monies form the sinews of endless warfare.” And it did. Warfare through the courts, apparently. Read more

Category: Cost of Healthcare, Health Insurance

WHERE DID YOUR MONEY GO? The Latest on How Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana Spent Your Money

One of the things I’ve always enjoyed about working here at Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana is the freedom we enjoy as a not-for-profit company. I spent some time in the for-profit, Fortune 500 world earlier in my career, and although I could probably have made more money there, I could never enjoy the freedom to act in the best interest of LOUISIANA that I have here.

In a typical publicly traded company, where everybody is hyper-focused on the stock price, constant consultation goes on between the company’s leaders and their “advisers” on Wall Street. In those situations, analysts and well-meaning outsiders have a huge amount of influence on the way companies behave, and at the end of the day, their primary responsibility is to their shareholders, not to their customers or employees. Read more

Category: Health and Wellness

Tracking Louisiana’s Progress Against COVID-19, Part 3: Death Rate by Age

I was so blessed growing up. I was a small-town boy (Morgan City was a city in name only!), an oldest child with four brothers and sisters, and had an incredibly talented, hard-working mom who stayed home with us until I was in high school. I was raised with a hard-working, strong moral character of a dad who had a job that allowed him to spend two out of every four weeks at home. And just for a little spice, his mom, a hard-charging, widowed “Maw-Maw,” lived two blocks away and worked well into her 70s. My Paw-Paw, her husband, passed away three years before I was born, when she was in her 40s. She never remarried.

Read more

Category: Government Programs

Counting America: How Did We Get Here?

Update: A late night ruling on Sept. 24 in U.S. District Court has ordered the federal government to extend counting for the 2020 Census for one more month, until Oct. 31. However, experts expect the ruling to be appealed.

Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana urges Louisianians to complete the census by the original Sept. 30 deadline. Being counted helps Louisiana get our fair share of federal funds, Congressional seats and electoral college votes.

I was watching a young mom the other day in my neighborhood, trying to get her kids to come inside for dinner. She got so mad, she started counting! “I’m only go

 

ing to give you to THREE, and then you’re gonna get it!”

Read more

Category: ACA and Policy, Cost of Healthcare, Health Insurance

SHOW ME THE MONEY!

One of the more interesting things the Affordable Care Act did to the private health insurance business was to tell health insurance companies that the Feds were now in control of their profit margins. What does that mean?

Imagine you are the CEO of your own health insurance company. In fact, let’s call it Your Own Health Insurance Company, or YOHIC for short! How do you think you would feel if YOHIC collected $1 billion in premiums over a year, but only had to pay out $500 million in healthcare costs? Sounds like YOHIC is doing really well, turning a 50% profit. Does YOHIC get to keep the rest of the premiums for its own payroll and profits?

Since 2010, the answer to that question is a resounding NO! Read more

Category: Health and Wellness

Hurricane Recovery in the Time of COVID-19

I’m taking a break from my series on COVID-19 data to talk about something more pressing – our state’s recovery from Hurricane Laura.

If, like me, you’ve spent many years in Louisiana, you’ve dealt with a lot of hurricanes that caused a lot of damage and destruction. I have memories of my childhood home in Morgan City being pummeled so hard by Hurricane Betsy in 1965 (I was a preschooler!) that water was blowing through the bricks and into the sheetrock. The walls of our brand-new house were flexing, like the house was “breathing,” and a telephone pole dropped right onto our roof. Terrifying. Let’s just say my family never stayed for any other hurricane after that one.

Read more