St. Albans Messenger

Do we need Blues, MVP? We do not.

The editorial by Emerson Lynn “15.6% rate increase is insane (Messenger, May 15, 2019) raises an important question about Blue Cross Blue Shield of Vermont (BCBS) that we need to face both in Vermont and, for that matter, across the land.

BCBS consumes a vast amount of our resources. All of their CEOs bring down at least a six-figure salary and have excellent benefits with a vastly secure retirement. About a decade ago, for example, one of their CEOs was sent off into retirement with a $7.25 milliongolden parachute. We the subscriber and the taxpayer of Vermont pay for all of this. Many subscribers, forced onto these Vermont Health Connect plans, cannot use the insurance because of the high deductibles charged by BCBS. Many will have to work into their seventies, eighties, and nineties (I am one of them) because their employment does not offer pensions, yet we still have to pay for the luxurious benefits of BCBS.

As BCBS is classified as a nonprofit, they pay little or no state taxes so we have to subsidize their state taxes forthem in addition to subsidizing them to the tune of millions every month in Medicare Advantage Plans and payrolldeductions. We also pay for the corps of lobbyists they maintain at the statehouseto preserve their interests and keep our health care costs atrociously highbecause high costs are advantageous to them.

Mr. Lynn is correct that BCBS will probably not get their 15.6% rate increase. They know this just as well as the GMCB, but why not start high and work down and see what happens? Next year, the year after, and every year after that they will be back for more rate increases with either the same excuses or similar ones I do not know whether Mr. Lynn intended it, but the unintentional question he raised that we should be asking ourselves is “do we need Blue Cross Blue Shield or MVP?”

The answer, of course, is no.

Walter Carpenter Montpelier