The South Carolina delegation really did its part to bring a dash of nonsense to the president’s speech to Congress about health insurance reform. I’m not just talking about Rep. Joe Wilson’s outburst, which he quickly apologized for. There was also Sen. Lindsey Graham’s moment of letting a little common sense seep around his solid partisan front.
My guiding principle is, and always has been, that consumers do better when there is choice and competition. Unfortunately, in 34 states, 75% of the insurance market is controlled by five or fewer companies. In Alabama, almost 90% is controlled by just one company. Without competition, the price of insurance goes up and the quality goes down. — Barack Obama
My health insurance is with Blue Cross Blue Shield of Alabama, the company Obama referred to in his speech to Congress last night. It’s no accident that the company enjoys the passive goodwill of most Alabamians. With its constant image advertising, its near-ubiquity, and its faint patina of New Deal-era benevolence, the company feels a lot like a public utility.
A company rep tried to build on that perception at a local forum on health-care reform this month. He assured us that with its dominance of the Alabama health-care scene, Blue Cross of Alabama is not like those other companies. Denial of claims is really pretty rare, he said. Things may be bad elsewhere, but Alabama doesn’t need reform. We shouldn’t trouble our pretty little heads about such things. Continue reading “An Alabama insurance story”