Whenever my feed reader serves up national coverage about North Carolina, it's rarely good news. Today's column in the New York Times by Paul Krugman is no exception. Blue Double Cross.
On Monday, just a week after the White House photo-op, The Washington Post reported that Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina was preparing to run a series of ads attacking the public option.
In previous lives, I've generally admired Blue Cross & Blue Shield of North Carolina. Over the years, I've done contract writing for them, and I used to be an employee of the PR firm doing the ads in question. One of my neighbors, Tom Rose, was CEO back in the 80s. He's a good guy.
Until recently, I even imagined that the Blues might be part of the solution to our nation's health care challenges. They have smart people who understand more about practical operations of health insurance than all the rest of us put together. I had been hoping that they would focus their intelligence and energies on the greater good instead of their own corporate and personal fortunes. That hope has been dashed.
I don't know exactly what happened or how, but it seems the natural instinct of institutions to self-perpetuate converged with natural instinct of individuals to protect their own financial interests to create an unimaginable Blue mess.
Which brings me to this excerpt from the Blues annual report.
We also believe the coming year will provide a real opportunity to extend health coverage to every American. Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina will be a constructive part of the discussion.
If this is what passes for "constructive" in the insurance industry, it's no wonder things are so screwed up in our healthcare system.
Maybe this embarrassing week will serve as a wake up call for the leadership at BCBSNC. But I'm not holding my breath.