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.