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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APR 18 So Gov. Jindal's new press secretary already has blocked blogger CB Forgotston from her Twitter account, CB tells us in this post. Sure, CB hasn't exactly been sugar sweet to the lady, but if his blogs are all it takes for her to get in a huff she better find some intestinal fortitude somewhere, because that's just the tip of the iceberg.
APR 18 Pooyie! Robert Kennedy Jr. isn't pulling any punches in this column on Huffington Post about the flood board's lawsuit against Big Oil and Bobby Jindal's involvement in efforts to kill it. Kennedy, who is president of the Waterkeeper Alliance, describes Jindal as 'genuflecting to Big Oil's pressure' and 'the industry's chief indentured servant.' Dang!
APR 18 Here's a video of UL Coach Mark Hudspeth showing he can pump some serious iron. It sure impressed the Dr. Saturday blog, which calls his press of 370 pounds a "ridiculous" number for a coach -- and opines that no other college coach could beat ours.
APR 18 Columnist John Maginnis offers some advice to Vance McAllister on this post: Don't quit. Republicans have demanded he resign, but offer no "sensible answer" to the question of why David Vitter shouldn't leave, too, he says. McAllister needs to do his duty and serve out his (abbreviated) term, Maginnis says.
APR 18 Blogger Lamar White Jr. comments upon the plan to make a Bible Louisiana's "official book" in this post. He argues his point by telling us the story of an immigrant couple who moved to Louisiana: Amar and Raj, whose oldest child is now our Governor. This action would have a much larger impact, he opines.
APR 18 There's only one major bill left defending public education, blogger Mike Deshotels writes in this post. He's also got a few choice words for state Superintendent John White, who implies that Louisiana teachers would be thrown into chaos and disarray if they didn't have a test to teach. (Maybe kids would actually get an education then? Nah!)
APR 18 An effort to set up speed cameras on the Interstate has been shut down before it even got started, columnist Stephanie Grace tells us in this post. A bill to block the practice is sailing through the legislature -- where apparently no one wants visitors to our fair state to arrive home to a ticket. (These guys must never drive on I-10 with people from Texas).
APR 18 Blogger Tom Aswell reassures everyone worried about the staffers for Rodney Alexander -- the ones who didn't go to work for McAllister or Candid Camera, anyway -- with this post. Apparently one staffer for the retired Congressman (who also worked for a preacher accused of sexual assault) already has been hired by Alexander in the state department he now runs, Aswell says.
APR 17 At the start of the Tuesday board meeting that ended with his removal from the President's post, Joe Aguillard told the governing board of Louisiana College that SACS, the accreditation agency, requires the board to adopt a confidentiality agreement regarding board actions. Later that day, SACS told the Town Talk that confidentiality agreements would never be required. Calvinist or not, isn't lying wrong?
APR 17 Here we are, looking like backwater dummies again in the national media. This story on Huffington Post tells the nation that our legislators are so scared of the Louisiana Family Forum that they won't vote to repeal a law that was ruled illegal years ago. (Guess these particular Christians don't cotton to that "love one another" thing.)
APR 17 Here's an interesting column from Paul Stanley, political opinion editor of the Christian Post. He breaks down the differences between David Vitter and Vance McAllister, in terms of political realities. What he found surprising was the fact that many GOP leaders are swinging a self-righteous sword at McAllister which had remained sheathed when Vitter's "sin" was revealed. He does have an interesting theory -- that Jindal's people want the Vitter issue to be revived.
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