WNC Citizens Blog

Buying Influence in Raleigh?

Check this out:

BCBS Sponsors Nesbitt Racing Enterprises- Does Senator Nesbitt Sponsor Blue Cross-Blue Shield?
By Ann Ryder

Have you seen the Blue Cross-Blue Shield corporate headquarters in Durham? This is no generic office building, but expensive architecture worthy of a Fortune 500 company. The CEO's salary and perks fit that same attitude. Our premiums have been raised, our benefits lowered and the health care providers squeezed in order for BCBS to buy out a competing health plan company and to amass huge reserves. All this, from a modest non-profit established by philanthropists, physicians, and non-profit hospitals "to provide health insurance to North Carolinians unable to purchase it."

In the early to mid 90s, BCBS started its efforts for conversion to for-profit status. It kept that information from the public though, while it made substantial contributions to political parties. Legislation came through in 1998 and since BCBS essentially belongs to the citizens, if it wants to go for-profit it has to turn over all of its assets, worth probably in excess of $3Billion (at that time), to a foundation. The foundation would then administer this fund which would be "dedicated to improving the health of North Carolina's residents." Foundation members were selected by Attorney General Roy Cooper from a list of nominees prepared by a committee consisting of lobbyists and others with political connections. Here's a quote from Bob Parker, a member of the committee that gives out grants from the Golden Leaf tobacco settlement: "If we could have a foundation that was exempt from the wishes of politicians and powerful individuals, that would be a blessing for the state". We have enough experience with Hunt, Easley, Cooper, and their friends to smell what happened to this $3B.

Read the rest here.

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This used to be one of several political commentary blogs I ran until I got tired of updating several blogs, and consolidated them on Thunder Pig, and moved the group blogs to a Ning network.

These photos are a reflection of where I am throughout the day, and a celebration of life west of the Balsam mountain range in western North Carolina.


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