Blue Cross Blue Shield
Ok, I know, I haven't published anything since October. Bad, bad me! I'd say I was busy, but I don't believe in that excuse. I'll simply say that it hasn't been a priority and leave it at that.
So, if you're not from Western North Carolina, you probably don't know about the recent spat between Mission Hospital System (our only hospital in Asheville proper) and Blue Cross Blue Shield of NC. They couldn't come to terms when negotiating a new contract, so they cancelled the contract, leaving the vast majority of folks in Asheville without health coverage within a reasonable geographic area.
Of course, Blue Cross didn't discount us any of our premiums even though the "service" that they provided for a couple of months was basically unusable. If I wanted to go to an "in network" facility, I had to drive to Hendersonville, 36 miles away!
Meanwhile, Mission continues to spend millions building more facilities when they should consider spending some time and money figuring out how to run an Emergency Room. Melissa's and my experience there a couple of years ago was absolutely dreadful!
On December 5th, the two organizations came together and announced a new agreement - Fireworks went off in town, drinks were toasted and babies were conceived. Not really. I think most people were so tired of the brinksmanship between BCBS and Mission that it was a non-event.
The audacity that the leaders of these organizations displayed, putting peoples' lives in jeopardy simply because of profits, is disgusting. Patrick Conway, CEO of BCBS-NC and Ron Paulus, CEO of Mission should be absolutely ashamed of themselves. They played with the lives of their customers and patients over money. This is just another reason why we need to remove the profit motive from health care. This should never be allowed to happen again.
So why am I writing this today? Because I cancelled my BCBS-NC policy today in favor of a United Health group plan for myself and the rest of my employees. It felt really good. Now of course, UNH is another faceless corporation who may go forth and do the same thing, but to say goodbye to Blue Cross at this time was just plain sweet.
I'll have to deal with Mission because they're the only game in town. Doesn't mean that I'm happy with them because they're just as much to blame. If I could go elsewhere, I would.
I don't know the answer to our health care crisis, but what I do know is that putting profits ahead of people is wrong. The system needs to change and it needs to change soon!