Memphis-based Morgan Keegan & Co. has been selected to advise the Jindal administration on privatizing a major health insurance plan for state employees and their dependents.
The Office of Group Benefits provides health plans for nearly a quarter million Louisiana residents. Morgan Keegan was the low bidder among three firms — Goldman Sachs and Barclays Capital were also in the running. MK will earn $900,000 to help determine whether privatizing the PPO portion of OGB would be fiscally advantageous to the state. The OGB is running a half billion dollar surplus, one of the main reasons Jindal’s push to privatize the agency ran afoul of lawmakers during the recent legislative session. The plan has also run into stiff opposition from the Retired State Employees Association.
Capitol News Service’s Tom Aswell weighed in on the controversy, pointing out, among other things, the role two of the firms — Morgan Keegan and Goldman Sachs — had in the near collapse of the U.S. economy, and the twisted relationships among Morgan Keegan, it’s corporate parent, Regions Financial Corp., and Goldman Sachs. Regions, according to a Reuters report, is considering selling Morgan Keegan, and hired Goldman Sachs to explore “strategic opportunities of such a sale:
[W]hat we have is this incredibly incestuous tangle whereby the Jindal administration has hired Morgan Keegan to explore the possible sale of OGB even as Regions has retained Goldman Sachs to explore the possible sale of Morgan Keegan even though Goldman Sachs less than a year ago was fined $587 million over claims that the bank misled investors in collateralized debt obligations linked to subprime mortgages.
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NOV 21 Bobby Jindal is headed to Iowa again, the Des Moines Register reports here. The paper outlines what's going on with Bobby's non-campaign for president, and there's a lot of stuff here -- too bad none of it sounds like somebody running Louisiana. Hey, wasn't that the job he wanted?
NOV 21 The end of the term has come for the grand jury investigating a lucrative Medicaid contract and a former state health official's ties to the company that won it, the Advocate reports here, but that doesn't mean the investigation into this stinkiness is over. There are still some things to look into, the lead prosecutor says.
NOV 21 With the passage of two amendments to Louisiana's much-amended constitution (it has been amended almost 200 times now) higher education has an even bigger target on its collective back, columnist Jim Beam opines in this post. Higher ed used to share the spotlight with health care, but that has changed, he says.
NOV 21 Here's a weird one: The Louisiana Cannabis Industry Association has endorsed Bill Cassidy for the U.S. Senate. Apparently, Mary Landrieu said she wouldn't consider support of medical marijuana but Cassidy said he would, WWL reports here.
NOV 21 Solange Knowles, possibly best-known for assaulting her brother-in-law in an elevator while wearing an ugly dress after the Met Ball, got married in the Marigny Opera House this past weekend, the New York Times reports here. Knowles, who has a house in the Faubourg Marigny district and owns a boutique in the Quarter, married Alan Ferguson.
NOV 21 This post on the Fuel Fix blog outlines a $1.4 billion move announced this week by the Apache Corp. that includes the sale of assets in south Louisiana. The company's interests in more than 90,000 acres in south Louisiana are some of the assets being sold, the post reports.
NOV 21 One (possible) positive from Hurricane Katrina is a comprehensive zoning ordinance for New Orleans. Nine years later, we're getting closer to that being finalized, but the current version has some problems. Here's the latest in a series of posts on The Lens in which residents give their views of the draft; this one is more amusing than most.
NOV 21 The new NOLA smoking ordinance is going to harsh your (nicotine) buzz, man. This post on Gambit outlines the high (or low, as the case may be) points: it includes electronic cigarettes and hookahs in its bans; eliminates smoking within 25 feet of any building's public entrance and in any public space - or near any public space - operated by the city.
NOV 20 Politico reports here that Bobby Jindal won't be kept out of the presidential race by anyone else's candidacy. (If he's running, which he's not, 'cause he's not done prayin' on it) So he's not interested in who is running, or what the polls say, or how much money he's got? K.
NOV 20 NOLA Defender's Tiny Daiquiri has a little fun with Bobby Jindal's Meet the Press appearance in this post. Bobby is still prayin' on whether or not he'll run for the job he's been running for over the past three years, Tiny says.
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