Local News

N.C. insurance giant opposes Obama's health plan

Posted May 19, 2009
Updated May 20, 2009

— The state's largest health insurance provider is stepping into the national health-care debate, saying the president's national health insurance plan could have a negative impact on quality care and its bottom line.

Company spokesman Lew Borman said Tuesday that although Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina supports the concept of health-care reform with affordable access for everyone, the company believes a government program could force out private insurers.

"We're concerned about what it means, as to how it would impact our business," Borman said. "How level would the playing field be?"

Blue Cross sign BCBS opposes Obama's health plan

President Barack Obama has said that one of the top priorities for his administration is to provide affordable, accessible health coverage to every American – more than 45 million are without it, including 1.5 million people in North Carolina.

Details have not been worked out, but Obama has maintained that a government-run plan could be more affordable for Americans who have trouble purchasing insurance. He has said he expects to have federal legislation passed by the end of this year.

Blue Cross Blue Shield N.C. has hired Raleigh public relations firm Capstrat Media to create several videos for a new Web site, scheduled to launch next month.

The insurance provider said the site will be a resource for people on how a new health-care system would potentially provide patients with fewer choices and lower quality care.

Adam Searing, of the North Carolina Justice Center's Health Access Coalition, said he believes patients will have more choices and that Blue Cross and other private insurers will face more regulation.

"They want to protect the millions of dollars they're making and the millions of dollars the executives are making in salary," Searing said. "They're afraid of change. They don't want it to happen.

Randy Seiver, an out-of-work IT professional supports Obama's plan for universal health coverage.

Having searched for more than a year for a job that provides health benefits, he said something must happen to help Americans.

"This country is about profit, but there is something between profit and ripping people off," he said.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of N.C. has about 3.7 million members. In 2007, it paid 41.8 million claims valued at $9.4 billion, according to its Web site.

154 Comments

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  • jprime May 21, 10:58 a.m.

    When I got laid off, I simply went without insurance. I weighed the risks, and decided it was much more likely that I would spend much more on private insurance + deductible in the interim than I would on any medical bills I might have in the same interim.

    Also, you can always save a high limit credit card if you dont have insurance, that way you can pay for just about anything in a life threatening emergency medical situation.

  • batcave May 20, 6:26 p.m.

    low quality care is better than none

    Not if it kills you. Look at what became of the gov run VA system, people who should have been getting the best were getting the worst.

  • livinggood2 May 20, 5:38 p.m.

    Thank You BCBS,I hope people will look how hard it is to get medical help in Canada and England.I know from personal experience that anyone from the USA who will just ask someone from these countries,will want the President to change his mind.

  • I guess I will just type this May 20, 4:53 p.m.

    I see why you're an "ex" teacher; you have to be able to think in order to teach others...

  • exteacher May 20, 3:16 p.m.

    "As a former employee of BCBCNC, I think the fact that they charge their employees several times more per month for coverage than I paid at my next job shows a lot about what they think everyone should pay."

    Only if you were getting more coverage when you were employed at BCBS.

  • NCPictures May 20, 3:08 p.m.

    "The giant insurance is ripping off good people daily. I am with President Obama, there need to be a change. People needs health insurance, especially those who have been laid off and have no jobs." --Professor

    A change to WHAT? Change for the sake of change? Be careful for what you wish for.

    I have been laid off before. I made the decision to go without health insurance. The doctors were more than willing to negotiate a deal with me. After all, they didnt need to fill out the paper work, and wait for months to get their money.

    But people now are so used to having "free" healthcare. People should be looking at how much is being taken out now, and then imagine how high that will go without any competition when the government takes over.

    Then IF the government takes over, when they decide that they will not give you the healthcare you need, what you will then do. I bet you end up spending a LOT of money going overseas. More money than if you had this type of healthcare.

  • Ripcord May 20, 2:57 p.m.

    "Talk what you know, otherwise keep quiet."

    Ah yes... the indestructible "shut up" argument.

  • ezLikeSundayMorning May 20, 2:34 p.m.

    Isn't BCBS non-profit? Why do they care?

  • Professor May 20, 2:33 p.m.

    President Obama is doing a great job. Continue to pray for him.

  • Professor May 20, 2:32 p.m.

    Maybe thats the difference between you and I.
    Ripcord

    Hello, there is no way I am like you. Plus, I don't live off the government either. Talk what you know, otherwise keep quiet.

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