The chief opponent of Gov. Bobby Jindal’s plan to turn over a health plan for state employees from the government-operated Office of Group Benefits to Blue Cross says such a transfer of operations will actually cost state tax payers $154 million, undercutting the chief claim of the Jindal administration that privatizing operations of OGB will be a money saver.
In a press release issued Thursday morning, Rep. Katrina Jackson, D-Monroe, provides the 2013-2014 budget request from OGB to Jindal’s office — a routine request state agencies must make to justify their spending. The four attached documents (reproduced below) demonstrate, according to Jackson, that privatizing the health plan’s operations, is fiscally irresponsible:
Attachment A: Reflects a request for an overall increase for approximately $264,696,853.00 (Line 24) for OGB. This figure has not been explained and therefore, the purpose of the above increase can not be determined nor calculated.
Attachment B: Reflects a decrease by $24,006,450.00 in OGB’s administrative costs and other expenses (Lines 5, 10, 11, 15, and 20).
Attachment C: Reflects an increase of $739,978,762.00 in administrative fee payments to Blue Cross Blue Shield.
Attachment D: Reflects a decrease by $557,670,900.00 in the PPO claims payments and $3,500,000.00 to United Behavioral Health for disease management (Lines 22 and 27 respectively).
Deducting all of the “savings” represented by the decrease in dollar amounts for OGB administrative costs and other expenses ($24,006,450.00); OGB PPO claims payments ($557,670,900.00); and United Behavioral Health payments ($3,500,000.00), from the amount requested to be paid to Blue Cross Blue Shield ($739,978,762.00) shows that there is a net amount of $154,801,412.00 being paid to BCBS without explanation.
This deal will cost the state an additional $154,801,412.00.
“It is not sound fiscal policy to pay more for services while laying off 177 individuals. These documents prove that we are not saving the state any money. We are, in fact, actually requiring the state to pay more,” Jackson concludes.
Last week, appearing before a joint House-Senate committee, Commissioner of Administration Kristy Nichols, seeing that House members would not go along, withdrew the administration’s plan to turn the remaining 62,000 state policies over to Blue Cross. (Blue Cross already administers 164,00 policies in OGB’s HMO plan.) Some Republican House members who were not supportive of the plan were also stripped of key committee assignments in keeping with Jindal’s heavy-handed MO.
According to Gannett’s Mike Hasten, JindalCo. hopes to bring the issue up again on Friday, although Rep. Jackson is challenging the timing of the meeting.
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JUL 27 The news gets worse in the case of the 11th hour bill that added a bunch of money to the retirement income of State Police Commander Mike Edmonson. Blogger CB Forgotston says here that the annual increase was not $30K, it was more like $55K. Also, it was Jindal buddy Neil Riser who tacked the action onto another bill - something he didn't feel compelled to tell us until now. But here's the best part - Edmonson turned down the money on Friday.
JUL 28 Finally, someone has pointed out that the far-right people who scream at immigrant children are not acting as Jesus would. Blogger Robert Mann runs a comparison of the actions of these alleged "Christians" against what the Bible says about their Savior -- and they come up lacking. Big time.
JUL 27 Here's the first of four pieces from Minnesota Public Radio about the horrible legacy of Gilbert Gauthe, the pedophile who also was a priest and used his position to obtain victims. The story gets into the most shameful aspect of that time - the protection Gauthe received from the leaders of the church. This four-piece story promises to be more comprehensive than anything we've seen, because it is looking back from so far. Some of the information here has only been released recently.
JUL 28 This story in the Picayune is a hopeful, happy one for a change. It's about a young woman who faced family problems that led to her dropping out of school. But now, just a few years later, she's completed two programs aimed at troubled kids and has landed a job in the kitchen of a John Besh restaurant.
JUL 27 Columnist James Gill has something for the Baton Rouge Metro Council -- and they could probably use it. He's giving them a piece of his mind in this post, taking them to task for being too (dumb, homophobic, gutless?) hesitant to pass the so-called tolerance ordinance, which basically says you can't discriminate against gay people in that fair city.
JUL 27 When you're telling people they have lost their jobs, you have to be careful about how you do it. When more layoffs were announced last week to the employees of the Office of Group Benefits, apparently that wasn't handled well, blogger Tom Aswell argues in this post. He's also got some info on who gets to stay - and how much they make. (Spoiler alert: It's a lot.)
JUL 28 After three years of revisions, the proposed new zoning ordinance for the city of New Orleans is ready for public review, this post on NOLA Defender reports. The plan is available starting today on the city's website and in several locations in the city, NoDef reports.
JUL 27 Here's an interesting infographic from LaPolitics on getting negative in political campaigning. There are several people who might want to take note - but chances are, they can't help themselves.
JUL 25 If you're not aware, there's a conflict among pro-choicers and pro-lifers going down in New Orleans. Anti-abortionists are protesting in the city this week, but those who support access to abortion have also been active in the city as a result. MSNBC's Rachel Maddow takes a look at what's going on in this clip, posted on Gambit.
JUL 25 Education Superintendent John White probably shouldn't sign a long lease on anything in Louisiana, Blogger Lamar Parmentel writes, because our reformer in chief is now in a situation "from which no amount of his own bs jargon or political hatchet work can extricate him." Lamar thinks that White is going to have to quit, and probably sooner rather than later.
JUL 25 This post on the Wall Street Journal examines the case of a Metairie physician who is making millions by filing whistle-blower lawsuits. His suits accuse corporations of defrauding federal agencies like Medicare, and when he wins he gets whistle-blower rewards - in the tens of millions of dollars. (You can view the story using your Facebook account, but if you don't want to do that, here's an abbreviated version in the Advocate.)
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