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.
JUNE 17 If anyone ever wonders why Saints fans hate Atlanta with a capital H, here's a good indication. Radio "professionals" at an Atlanta station created an entire segment around making fun of former Saints player Steve Gleason, who is now paralyzed by ALS. Listen, nobody's ever accused DJs of being rocket scientists. But how could someone think it is amusing to pretend to ask a man with a degenerative, fatal disease if he will be alive next week? The DJs have been fired, and are now whining about how gutless their former bosses are. Wow.
JUNE 18 Here's the latest from the Advocate on the fatal hit-and-run accident allegedly involving the president of the Livingston Parish School Board. He's accused by police of hitting a 21-year-old man on a highway early Sunday and driving away. The man died at a hospital later. On Monday, police seized the president's truck and towed it away. But he's available for board meetings: apparently a $500 bond is sufficient for this type of thing over in St. Helena Parish.
JUNE 18 Former broadcast journalist Griffin Scott has posted this plea on his blog for financial assistance from his readers. Scott, who says he was fired after he wrote something fairly innocuous (for Facebook) on his wall, is suing a media giant for his job back. He's framed himself as David going after a bloated media giant, and he's probably not far off.
JUNE 18 Here's a fairly absurd column posted on DIG Magazine about the completely absurd practice of naming killer storms. Tornadoes don't have names. Blizzards don't have names. But hurricanes do, and there's a big process to bestow them, Jacques Cormery writes. He's right about the crazy assemblage of names -- this year, there's everything from Tanya to Humberto -- and his idea that we don't waste good names on killer storms is a good one.
JUNE 17 Political columnist John Maginnis has some advice for Louisiana Republicans: grow up. After the schism that occurred in this past session - fiscal hawks teaming up with Democrats to spank the Republican "majority" and hand Gov. Jindal his, er, aspirations for continued solon control -- they need to figure out how to get along with each other, Maginnis writes.
JUNE 17 Here's the Picayune's obit story for Dorothy 'Miss Dot' Domilise, the lady who made poboys at the uptown restaurant that bears her name. Miss Dot moved to New Orleans during World War II, where she met and married her husband Sam. When she passed away Friday she was 90, and had spent more than 60 of those years working at the restaurant on Annunciation Street.
JUNE 17 This editorial in the Advocate speaks in favor of the consent decrees that have federal judges overseeing police operations and the sheriff's parish prison in New Orleans. Mayor Landrieu and Sheriff Gusman can't get along, so outside forces, like the Inspector General and the judges, are needed to make sure things run right, the editorial opines.
JUNE 18 Here's a post from Manny Schewitz on Forward Progressives that is good for a chuckle. Manny had an epiphany back in November, and is sharing it with us today: he believes that Fox "News" is killing the GOP by pandering to right wing nuts. Now, don't get it twisted: Manny's not broke up about it. He says he enjoys watching the downward spiral with a shot of whiskey and "a schadenfreude chaser."
Frank’s Casing Crew, now doing business as Frank’s International, will make its final appearance on ABiz’s list of the Top 50 Privately Held Companies in Acadiana this year, and once again, it will likely be at the top with more than $1 billion in annual revenues. The 75-year-old company specializing in tubular fabrication and installation services to the oil and gas industry plans to go public this year.
The defeat, or rather highjacking of House Bill 420 in the final days of this year's Legislative Session, say Reps. Vincent Pierre and Terry Landry, is the result of the propaganda spread by one unidentified local media outlet and an unnamed former state Representative, but nothing to do with the original legislation's lack of checks, balances or details.
He’s a singer. A songwriter. A piano man. A family man. He’s even got his own Wikipedia entry. He’s David Egan. And he knows ancient secrets about the monolithic stones of Stonehenge that he’s not willing to share.