Chelsea Green Publishing

The Blogging Community at Chelsea Green

Will Black Sheep Blue Shield Bring Down American Health Insurance?

California Insurance Commissioner Dave Jones may have just assured Blue Shield its place as the worst health insurance company in America. He's gotten every other health insurance company in California to hold off on rate increases. A black sheep among black sheep is how Blue Shield and its CEO Bruce Bodaken will be remembered if they don't budge from their pledge to raise rates as much as 59 percent on some Californians on March 1. The drama playing out in California is being watched on the national stage. With consumers ready to turn their pitchforks on Blue Shield, the recalcitrant insurer could become the unwitting hero of a movement to further regulation and restore the public option to the private market in California and states across America. When Anthem Blue Cross tried to raise rates as much as 39 percent on Californians last year, the outrage gave President Obama the ammunition to pass federal health reform, even though the bill did nothing to stop rate increases.  Now Blue Shield is giving California reformers the ammo to go to the legislature and the ballot box for proposals that give regulators the power to say no to premium increases and to create a public insurance option in California. What starts here will spread. Only Blue Shield could make Anthem Blue Cross look like a patriot. Here's what Insurance Commissioner Jones had to say:
I am pleased that Aetna, Anthem Blue Cross and PacifiCare have agreed to my request that they halt the implementation of their rate increases until the Department of Insurance has adequate time to review their recent rate filings. I am very concerned about the impact premium increases will have on policyholders, so I want to ensure that the Department has adequate time to review these rate filings for compliance with the law. Blue Shield policyholders will not have the benefit of this additional review period to ensure compliance with the law, but I will do what is within my power to determine whether Blue Shield’s proposed rates are in compliance with the law and to enforce that law.
The question for Blue Shield is what does it have to hide? Apparently a lot.  That's why Consumer Watchdog called last week for disclosure about how much Blue Shield CEO Bruce Bodaken makes, why Blue Shield is keeping 12 times the required amount of surplus, and supporting evidence for its claims that medical costs are going through the roof. Every other health insurance company discloses its CEO's salary. Apparently Blue Shield is a strong believer in its exceptionalism. Where there is smoke there is usually fire. Blue Shield is becoming the poster child for everything we hate about health insurance companies.  It better rethink it's positions and give its customers a break or it may find that its arrogance will be its downfall. If you are angry, you can join me, betrayed Blue Shield patients and the California Nurses Association leaders at Blue Shield headquarters in San Fransisco next Tuesday for a good old fashioned pitchfork protest. Tuesday, Feb. 1, 11:00 a.m. WHERE: Blue Shield San Francisco HQ, 50 Beale St. ——————————————————————- Read the original post on The Huffington Post.
raisinghell Jamie Court is the author of The Progressive’s Guide to Raising Hell.

Will Patients Beat Blue Shield Again… This Time With the First Online Ballot Petition for Rate Regulation

Shouldn’t the CEOs of health insurance companies like Blue Shield have to sign under penalty of perjury that their rate hikes are justified? If the first online signature gathering for a ballot petition is successful, Californians will vote on that proposition in November, and are almost sure to approve. One year ago I stood at […] Read More..

California Democratic Lawmakers Revive Schwarzenegger Scam To Sell Off Historic State Properties in Order to Save Their Pay

California’s Democratic state lawmakers announced a budget plan to keep their paychecks coming that included one of the worst ideas Arnold Schwarzenegger had since impregnating his kids’ nanny. If lawmakers don’t pass a budget today, they lose their pay tomorrow. So Assembly Democrats have included in their hastily-assembled budget plan Schwarzenegger’s political love child, selling […] Read More..

Do-Not-Track-Online Goes On National Map With Rockefeller Bill

U.S. Senator Jay Rockefeller did the American people a great favor today by introducing the Do-Not-Track-Online Act of 2011. iPhone and Android users should not have to worry about being spied on by their smart phones. We should be able to say no to Google and Facebook when they violate our privacy daily by tracking […] Read More..

Will the President Gridlock West LA as Prelude to Earth Day? He Should Read the Gas Station Signs

The email warnings are flying in West Los Angeles about how the President’s motorcade will once again gridlock afternoon rush hour. The cause: two mistimed, ill-placed Hollywood fundraisers on opposite sides of the traffic jam known as West LA. There’s probably no major city as pro-Obama as Los Angeles, or state so solidly in his […] Read More..

Google CEO for Commerce Secretary? How About Madoff for SEC?

The strong buzz in Washington, DC is that Google CEO Eric Schmidt is President Obama’s top choice for Commerce Secretary and an appointment is coming soon. The CEO who made billions collecting our personal information online and serving us up to advertisers, the guy who created online privacy problems, would head the federal agency responsible […] Read More..