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By JGillman, Section News
Just kicking back and appreciating the theft unanimously approved early this year in the state senate, and nearly as much in the state house.
Once upon a time, the insurer of last resort (yeah Michiganians have had a cant-deny-preexisting insurer for several decades already)was owned by you and I. (since 1939) As recently as a few years ago, it even carried a balance sheet of about $6,000,000,000.00 including over $3,000,000,000.00 cash reserves. The BCBS board tried to use those reserves in for-profit ventures, (a great way to pass off cash to private partners) and were stopped by then attorney general Mike Cox. In 2008, Cox kept BCBS of MI in check.
But things are different now. This time no one stepped in to stop the transference of a GREAT BIG PILE OF MONEY away from Michigan citizens. And the great big Obamacare boondoggle helped them do it. Now that they aren't owned by you and I, its time to make some real cash!
"Blue Cross Blue Shield of Michigan shows a projected savings of tens of millions of dollars next year by terminating 25 individual health plans that were noncompliant with the Affordable Care Act.Note that a loss means a growth in cash reserves over the same period.
Enjoy the song.
Michigan's Blue Cross Blue Shield subscribers have been paying it forward for a long time.
Recall a few years ago, Michigan AG Mike Cox slapped down the blues for a strange bust out into the for-profit insurance market. At the time, Cox said:
"Blue Cross has built a huge surplus with the help of state tax breaks and rapidly rising insurance premiums. They should be cutting health costs for Michigan families instead of diving deeper into the for-profit insurance industry."Indeed.
Since that slap down, I have frequently imagined how the blues could be dis-assembled. Not at all that I wanted to, but asking the question of HOW such a structured insurer of last resort might be dissolved at some point. And to be sure, given THAT situation, there ought to have been others inside and out of government who might have wondered as well. Had it not been for AG Cox wagging the I-don't-think-so finger, a strange funneling of money to other 'for-profit' entities might have happened, costing rate payers dearly. "Who might have been the recipients and concurrent stockholders in such an arrangement that hides cash flow from non-profit reporting requirements?" could have been the question at hand.
But no worries, right? That big pile of money has been maintained, and leveraging high rates have made it easier for the blues to make sure it stayed available. The blues have in fact have continued to hold on to a $3 billion cash reserve and by raising those rates to keep it there, it rewards those past premium payers with the knowledge that they have solved the next hole in the Michigan state budget. Or even better, have given the governor a new potential slush fund.
(2 comments, 572 words in story) Full Story
By JGillman, Section News
Those words in the most appropriate context were used by he VP pick Paul Ryan last evening in Tampa.
When he said:
"....that's freedom, and I'll take it any day over the supervision and sanctimony of the central planners"The crowd erupted. I openly cheered from my easy chair.
He touched on a point that is relevant no matter whom the leadership might be. The interference and 'concern' over the affairs of our lives is too often conflicting with the independence we claim as our birthright. Some folks forget that we have to be able to fail. That risk and reward is a part of the American dream. That sometimes, our decisions make us healthy, and sometimes not.
Its NOT government's place to provide a boost for a business. Its NOT government's place to control the healthcare choices through exchanges or limitations on where one buys insurance or the care itself. Its NOT the government's place to provide housing. Nor is it government's place to control the terms of employment, and compensation that business provides.
Ryan is correct.
Republicans in Michigan and elsewhere ought to take note of the future VP's comments and internalize them.
Its no longer acceptable (as if it ever was) to pretend the good of all requires the abrogation of certain rights. And to laud an 'knowing better than thou' attitude over those who assert such rights is indeed sanctimonious.
(1 comment) Comments >>
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