NC HEALTH REPORT: A Bad Week for NC Blue Cross

May 21, 2009

Editors:  Adam Searing and Adam Linker
 
HEALTH ACCESS COALITION TV: Check out all our videos on HAC's  YouTube channel.
 
VIDEO: NC Blue Cross planning extensive coordinated attack on President Obama's plans to reform health care. See the WRAL report from Tuesday night.
 
AT THE PROGRESSIVE PULSE:
 
Why a public health plan option joining private health plan options won't lead to a super-scary "government takeover" of our health care - but will mean security for Americans who lose their jobs and their health coverage.
 
Wall Street Journal uses tired talking points in its latest editorial attack against national health reform.
 
Andrea Verykoukis comments on the Blue Cross controversy.
 
Chris Fitzsimon notes the bad week for Blue Cross - including WRAL's latest revelation that the company picked up a substantial share of Mary Easley's salary increase at NC State last year - while her husband was Governor.
 
Could it get much worse?  Now it looks like a NC Blue Cross lobbyist is the subject of the attempted bribery allegation by a NC lawmaker considered recently by the NC General Assembly's ethics committee.
 
Adam Linker shows that NC Blue Cross CEO Bob Greczyn is one of the highest paid insurance execs in the nation - and he runs a nonprofit.  Hello.  NC Blue Cross nonprofit board?  Where is that compensation committee?
 
The original story from the Washington Post about Blue Cross's opposition to President Obama's health plan was interesting. But the WaPo story failed to note that the public relations firm hired to develop the campaign, Raleigh's Capstrat, is headed by a person the News and Observer has described as an "informal adviser" to President Obama's campaign in North Carolina.
 
Adam Linker on what people should expect to pay for an affordable health plan.
 
Chris Fitzsimon on Big Pharma and connections to professional associations.
Roughly 60 percent of working-age women and 50 percent of working-age men have trouble paying medical bills and accessing health care because of costs according to a new study by the Commonwealth Fund.
 
Recently released health reform proposals by the U.S. Senate Finance Committee could threaten our state's enormously successful medical home model called Community Care of North Carolina.
 
Adam Searing explains why a public Medicare-like program available to all Americans is critical to health reform. He points to the United States Postal Service, which competes against private companies like FedEx and UPS, as a working example of a mixed public and private system.
 
Check out all of the interesting health care headlines today. The N&O picks up on the Blue Cross story. Burr announces his latest dead-on-arrival health plan. And Health Care for America Now holds a successful press conference denouncing consolidation in the insurance industry.
 
UPCOMING MEETINGS - THE HEALTH ACCESS COALITION AND PARTNERS AROUND NORTH CAROLINA:
 
HEALTH ACCESS COALITION MEETING - SAVE-THE-DATE: On Monday, September 21st from 10:00 AM to 12:00 PM, the Health Access Coalition will hold a meeting at the new AARP-NC office on 1511 Sunday Drive, Ste. 312 in Raleigh. Remember, if you are unable to attend the meeting in person, we now have call-in capability.  It's not too early to let us know if you are planning to attend in person or via telephone. RSVP to Nicole Dozier (nicole@ncjustice.org) if you are a HAC member or are interested in attending and joining HAC.
 
TOGETHER NC TOWN HALL DISCUSSIONS:  North Carolina's state government faces a large budget shortfall. It is critical that elected officials hear from folks in their communities about the importance of public programs and services so that they can make budget decisions that support communities and families, not undermine the state's economic recovery. The institutions North Carolina families rely on -- health care, education, unemployment insurance, housing assistance, child care, just to name a few -- are in jeopardy this year. We want to hear from local providers, advocates, families, teachers, students, etc.    Go to Together NC for more information or questions.www.togethernc.org
Please RSVP to hope@ncjustice.org  today:
  • Friday, May 22nd- Elizabeth City
  • Thursday, May 28th- Charlotte
  • Tuesday, June 2nd- Greenville
  • Wed, June 3rd- Durham
  • Wed, June 3rd- Winston-Salem
  • Thurs, June 4th- Pittsboro
  • Thurs, June 4th- Rocky Mount
 
RICHARD BURR'S DISMAL RECORD ON HEALTH CARE: Adam Linker takes the Senator to task for trying to look like a health reformer - when his proposals are anything but.  This goes for his newest health plan too - double!
 
ARTICLE - HEALTH CARE ADVOCACY AND NEW MEDIA: In a new article in this month's NC Medical Journal Adam Searing takes a look at the history of health advocacy in North Carolina and how new media strategies like blogs, video, and other newish communication strategies can help tip the balance in favor of reform this time around.
 
TROUBLE WITH A HEALTH INSURANCE PLAN? The NC Attorney General's Managed Care Patient Assistance Program has helped thousands of people having trouble with their health insurance companies. They get results and they are there to help all North Carolinians.
 
FREE OR LOW COST HEALTH CARE RESOURCE: The NC Institute of Medicine maintains an excellent resource for information about how to get health care in NC if you don't have much money.
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