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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OCT 31 The National Journal posts another story from its visit to NOLA, this one about the struggling Vietnamese shrimpers in the area. The publication has been looking at how the state is recovering from Katrina, nine years later.
OCT 31 The New York Times posts this look at Louisiana politics, and how national issues are forcing out the old-time local politicking. Of course they mention EWE, aptly described as an old-time politician known for "charming one half of the state and mortifying the other."
OCT 31 Here's an AP story on the ABC site about Louisiana's chicken little response to an international medical conference planned in NOLA this weekend. Organizers (who are actual physicians, as opposed to the hand-wringing state officials who issued the edicts) say the orders are "unfortunate" given that a main focus of the meeting was Ebola.
OCT 31 Given the things Bobby Jindal has said and done since he's been governor, it's a pretty safe bet he thinks we're a bunch of dummies. Apparently, he's sure President Obama is one, too. This story on Huff Post quotes Jindal as saying the president - a graduate of Harvard Law - should sue to get his money back. (What should a Brown biology grad who doesn't believe in evolution do?)
OCT 31 Us old folks are used to a two-party system, although most of us aren't sold on its success. But what if that system wasn't in place; what if politics reflected the true level of diversity among voters? That's what an LSU student is dreaming of in this editorial. He sees the two parties' control of our politics as limiting.
OCT 31 And you thought the Senate race was dirty. This post on the Forward Now blog tells the story of a Shreveport mayoral campaign worker who was paid to "infiltrate" and "sabotage" an opponent's campaign. Karma's a beeotch, though, because turns out the guy really liked the "enemy," and now he's supporting her. For real.
OCT 30 The National Journal offers this analysis of Bobby Jindal's willingness to stump in any Senate campaign that's not in Louisiana. Why is that? The Journal asks some GOPers and finds that the answer is one we already know: he's so unpopular here, because he's been so busy running for President, that his support might be "toxic."
OCT 30 Blogger Tom Aswell is still all over the OGB mess - and all by himself, apparently. In this post, he's revealing orders from the Jindal administration to destroy records from the state employee health insurance plan. Those orders (he's heard) have angered the Secretary of State and caused an administration lawyer to quit her job. Wow!
OCT 30 A NOLA lady has alleged she was drugged and raped at a Bywater club that had a clothing-optional policy until recently, and she's now become the victim of a smear campaign, columnist Jarvis DeBerry writes in this post. She chose to reveal her story and her name, and she's being punished for that now, he says.
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