Tag Archives: Blue Cross Blue Shield

▶ The Nine Most Terrifying Words – YouTube

 

Funny, how you only hear this when the group that they’re against is getting assistance. 

Nine most terrifying words?  Well, not so much in Mississippi these days.  Just look at the insurer-provider dispute in Mississippi. 

In the dispute between a big insurer and a hospital group in Mississippi how can you possibly be concerned with “the patients that Blue Cross insures and these hospitals serve” and refuse Medicaid expansion? How can you not see the connection? Absence of Medicaid expansion in Mississippi will drive up medical costs to Mississippians relative to other states. The cost of not getting preventative treatment and health maintenance drives the cost up for everyone by channeling impoverished people into the emergency rooms for more expensive care. That cost doesn’t just disappear but is passed on to other consumers through higher costs which they pay via higher premiums and higher co-pays and deductibles. Of course the insurance industry operating in Mississippi would move to cut out the more expensive hospitals; they have stock prices and shareholders to worry about. Conspicuous by their absence once again is the Mississippi Heritage Foundation doppelganger, the Mississippi Center for Public Policy. Where were the faux-limited government proponents advocating unfettered markets? It’s funny how you didn’t hear them complain about the governor issuing an order which “would have required Blue Cross Blue Shield of Mississippi [a private entity] to resume paying in-network rates at Mississippi hospitals.” Not really when you realize that, despite what the Tea Party-types profess, they are in favor of limited government only if it doesn’t affect their comrades or people who lobby for laws that increase the corporate profits out of which their financial support comes. If Mississippi politicians can spend so much time and effort trying to make sure that the federal government keeps maintaining military installations and spending that produce a net inflow of federal dollars to Mississippi then it doesn’t make any sense to try and stop the federal government from helping Mississippi defray the state’s overall healthcare costs on the grounds that you don’t believe in government involvement in the free market. Channeling government spending into arguably unnecessary military spending or at best spending that is not efficient because of the economic impact to a given state, say Mississippi, is an admission that the government does create jobs and that it is desirable for the government to do so. Even Ronald Reagan acknowledged the military as an employment source and favored including the military in employment figures. And from a fiscal standpoint, pretending that expansion of Medicaid is detrimental to Mississippi’s budget is to bury one’s head in the sand.

The cost of medical care in Mississippi will not decrease because Medicaid is not expanded, the costs will actually rise faster because of the absence of the benefits of expansion. The truth is Mississippians’ insurance premiums will be higher than they would have been under expansion and the medical infrastructure will be more overwhelmed because Mississippi is refusing federal aid, in a move that befits a continuation of the secessionist impulse, an impulse which operates to the creation and maintenance of huge wealth gaps. And the crack, about Mississippians not looking for work because the government is providing healthcare, is a reflection of the neo-feudalist nature of some Mississippi politicians. They would rather have citizens tied to employers because of healthcare than to have them be truly free to start their own businesses, then to see a “thousand flowers bloom.” There is one report which “finds that up to nearly 1 million workers may voluntarily leave their jobs because of the new health care law.”

They, the Crypto-Fascists, would rather the average citizen be constrained in such a way that they, average Mississippians, have to look up to and be beholding to corporate interest in a way that lets corporations place greater and greater controls on citizens. You see this manifested in things like Mississippi politicians’ (Crypto-Fascists’) participation in and defense of organizations like ALEC which brought Mississippi, through Joey Filingane, the photo ID law, which constricts democratic participation. The less-government, less-regulation crowd is actually an anti-democratic cabal which orchestrates the development and maintenance of monopolies. Anti-democratic forces don’t really believe that “[t]he antitrust laws reflect our society’s belief that competition enhances consumer welfare and promotes our economic and political freedoms.” They actually believe in tying people to employers in a slave or share-cropper fashion. With people so tied to an employer, how likely are they to vote in a way with which their employers disagree? This is a very real way in which something as simple as the denial of healthcare access UNDERMINES DEMOCRACY!!! Mississippi where sine qui non for political success is a simple as opposing anything related to Obama, it’s relatively easy, also given Mississippi’s neo-feudal, plantation-heritage (see flag vote)-loving past, to propose things which support plutocracy or oligarchy.

Additionally, on the subject of the rejection of democracy, widely-dispersed opportunity and equality, no one ever seems to even consider how the linkage of healthcare to existing businesses (getting insurance through your employer) may stifle competition by reducing the number of entrepreneurs thereby driving up consumer costs because of lack of competitors or of alternative products related to the inhibition of innovation. It is an intuitive design, this strategy of opposing the Affordable Care Act; forcing labor into existing businesses to obtain healthcare dovetails so nicely with right-to-work-for-less laws. Employers can reduce pay by offering insurance and reduce the number of competitors simultaneously. This is something which may be good for the existing employers but can’t be good for consumers or labor in the long run. The first order of business for CONservatives is to make certain that challenges to the existing economic kingpins are few or non-existent. Anything from unions to healthcare which threatens that imperative must be utterly crushed. When people like Dwayne Blaylock, president and CEO of River Oaks says “communities need protection and patients need access to the health care professionals of their choice,“ you have to wonder if they ever think about what repeal of the McCarran-Ferguson Act would mean for patient choice and for costs and consider that “[tlo the extent that insurance companies engage in anticompetitive collusion . . . then they appropriately [should] be subject to antitrust liability.]” But something tells me that being the CEO of a hospital means that his imperative, like the big insurers, is also something other than patient protection and universal access to any health care professionals much less the “professionals of their choice.” In this system patient choice is a sales tool which like patient protection is a means to an end. And in Mississippi because of resistance to things like Medicaid expansion, a physician, in many cases, doesn’t have to be concerned with first, doing no harm; sick people without access means that first, they do nothing at all.

Bryant orders 10 HMA hospitals back into Blue Cross network | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com

I cannot sit back and allow Mississippians’ access to care to be threatened in violation of state law

What business does any public official have in trying to make certain that citizens have access to medical care? How can a business be compelled to provide a “product in a marketplace at the insistence” of government?
And don’t you remember how, in an effort to support the efficacy of markets in meeting the needs of Americans, RepubliCons said that:

“[t]here is no one who doesn’t have health care in America. No one. Now, they may end up going to the emergency room?”

So what’s all the fuss about insurance companies deciding not to do business with some hospitals because they “charge too much?” Isn’t this just the marketplace at work? Shouldn’t insurance companies be allowed to seek profit like all good capitalists? What’s with the dictatorial intervention? Weren’t the Teabaggers carrying signs of President Obama with Hitler mustaches drawn on his face because of his market interventions? What’s with the government intrusion embodied in the Mississippi Patient Protection Act of 1995?” What’s with the government telling businesses what they must provide? This situation makes a point emphatically. Specifically, the issue is that capitalism is a system devised by man and subject to modifications and variations necessary to serve the people. This democratic Republic, America, is served by capitalism. The Republic is not the servant of capitalism. This is a fact that the conservatives, indoctrinated within the last thirty years, must learn. The more sophisticated conservatives know this which is why they spend so much time lobbying to make laws (modifications and variations) which concentrate capital in relatively few hands while pretending that capitalism just happens to naturally support the trade deficits enhanced by this “service economy” that they have convinced the public is most desirable for America. This salesmanship of substandard economic conditions explains why many Americans’ desired to keep the insurance plans that they had before enactment of the Affordable Care Act, a situation that could be compared to domestic abuse. The form of capitalism practiced in this country is designed and modified by men; it is not some natural, organic formation sent to us by God. If our form of capitalism is so superior then why do we find ourselves begging other countries with much more socialism (government mandated health care) in their economies for jobs?

It is ironic how conservative governors from southern states who complain about government thwarting private markets and competition spend time and state resources pursuing Japanese investment in their states when according to author T.R. Reid in “The Healing of America, “[d]espite universal coverage and prodigious consumption, Japan spends a lot less for health care that most of the developed nations; with costs running at about 8 percent of GDP, it spends about half as much as the United States.” And get this Teabaggers, the Japanese require everyone to sign up. They call it a personal mandate. The irony is that so called conservatives are attacking personal responsibility and seeking investment from people (foreign capitalists?) who make certain that all of their citizens have health care while complaining about a “’woodwork effect,’ an allusion to people [American citizens] who currently quality for Medicaid but are not covered and will ‘come out of the woodwork’ to qualify because of new changes affecting people without insurance.” Just think about that for a moment. Here you have Americans alluded to as bugs, as insects who will come out of the “woodwork” to get what, crumbs? Actually CONservatives, [see Mitt Romney and Steel Dynamics] are very skilled at getting government to assist them while pretending that the resources that they get, they got all by themselves when they have really benefited for jobs programs, activities subsidized in one fashion or another by a government of the people. Their brilliance is in their ability to convince their constituents that they don’t need the government while channeling government to assist their constituents. You even have a private entity Blue Cross/Blue Shield complaining about constituent services: complaining that “the hospital management company [with whom the big insurer has a dispute] and its lobbyists have donated thousands of dollars in “political contributions” to the governor.”

The health care conversation is Mississippi doesn’t just smell of classism, it reeks of elitism. The political establishment is fighting to maintain health care access for one group of Mississippians while being willing to in the words of a local reporter who’s been covering the Mississippi health care struggle for the Clarion Ledger in Jackson, Ms., Sam R. Hall , to ignore “the loss of DSH payments” which “would equal nearly $1.4 billion” [these are federal funds paid to the state to help cover indigent care in hospitals which are scheduled to go away] and not expand Medicaid. In the words of Mr. Hall

“[t]hat’s $400 million more than if every single eligible Mississippian allowed joined after expanding the Medicaid program, and we know that’s 100 percent will never join.”

Pew!!!! We can’t just be imagining that smell. The state of Mississippi while begging for jobs from a country with universal health care continues to refuse to assist Mississippians making more than $5,500 per year, the Medical cutoff, get health care while compelling a private insurer to provide health care access for Mississippians making considerable more than $5,500, Mississippians making enough to afford a BCBS policy.

Remarkable still is the protestations about big government involvement in Mississippi and assertions of state’s rights (in the antebellum southern spirit) even to the point where Senator Thad Cochran will now face a Teabagger opponent even as a “proportion of federal spending in Mississippi is directed toward large federal installations such as Camp Shelby, John C. Stennis Space Center, Meridian Naval Air Station, Columbus Air Force Base, and Keesler Air Force Base.” And there are also the private sector extensions of the military industrial complex like Ingalls Shipbuilding in Pascagoula, Mississippi.
To ignore Tip O’Neill’s maxim, “all politics is local,” is to abandon the field to the Teabaggers who are the servants, wittingly or unwittingly, of the neo-feudalists who are ordering society in a fashion that produces less social mobility. And access to health care, if you look at the rest of the industrialized world, is critical to that dream as it provides the foundation for productivity so that “you can build that,” that being whatever your dream is.

Bryant orders 10 HMA hospitals back into Blue Cross network | The Clarion-Ledger | clarionledger.com