The Minnesota Blues plan is floating a proposal for universal care. It looks at first glance like a Mass type individual mandate. Not so long ago Ken Melani, now CEO of Highmark, the dominant Western Pennsylvania Blues plan, had a similar idea.
So it appears that little by little the non-profit Blues are coming around to the fact that they have to have some plan in place to survive the coming revolution. This assumes that their future is a choice between being state regulated utilities in a multi-payer universal care system, or being replaced by the government in a single payer system. And there’s little doubt which one they’d rather take.
Of course these Blues have been denied the option of going for-profit, as the various state legislatures are now wise to the scam that enabled an earlier generation of Blues executives to make themselves rich beyond recognition while providing damn little back to the states that had allowed them that tax-free status for decades (see the experience in Maryland, for instance).
Those that have gone over to the dark side are of course adopting all of the tactics you’d expect, while of course the non-profit guys claim that they have to do the same to remain competitive. If they could construct a universal care multi-payer model in which everyone has to play by the rules of the big local state regulated utility, they’d do fine.
And apparently there are enough senior people, in at least Minneapolis and Pittsburgh, who are beginning to think that that’s the choice they’ll end up with in a few years. So they’re starting to float the proposals now.
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