Skip to main content

Kent Conrad (D-ND) is one of the gang of six – the Senators on the Finance Committee who are trying to figure out how to pay for health care reform. Conrad has been pushing for a co-op plan, which would be done either regionally or state-by-state. Let’s take a look at health care in North Dakota, shall we?

Ninety percent of private health insurance in North Dakota is handled by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota (BCBSND). BCBSND is a non-profit company. In fact, their website says they’re a mutual insurance company (which means their policyholders have certain ownership "rights").

Sounds to me like a co-op. Even if there are minor differences between a mutual insurance company and a co-op, I’m sure the lawyers of BCBSND could figure out a way to convert to co-op status.

Now let’s look at the brewing scandal in North Dakota.

The Forum (the newspaper in Fargo – the largest city in North Dakota) had an article on their website today. The Insurance Commissioner of North Dakota has been looking into BCBSND. Here’s the lede from today’s Forum story (DETAILS ONLY IN TODAY'S FORUM: Blue Cross Blue Shield execs profited from bogus bonuses -- unfortunately, you may have to sign up with the website to read the story):

Nearly $15 million in employee bonuses that were almost assured regardless of performance.

Sales reward trips to posh resorts totaling $1.2 million.

A $3.5 million investment in a murky hotel partnership lacking audited financial statements.

All this and much more during just the past five years are among almost half a billion dollars in expenses detailed in a report by state insurance examiners who probed spending practices by Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota.

Also, they’ve been jacking up their prices every year. Why not? They’re almost a monopoly. And they need that money to fly their top salespeople to the Grand Caymans. It gets cold in North Dakota.

Yeah, they’re non-profit. Yeah, they’re "owned" by policyholders. They’re almost a co-op. But they’re also the best argument for getting rid of health insurance and switching to a government plan.

Wait, there's more.

Before posting this, I checked DKos and found Kiku’s diary, Conrad's co-op would include BCBS. Here’s a quote from the NY Times (thanks, Kiku):

Mr. Conrad’s own state demonstrates the uncertainties surrounding cooperatives. Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Dakota dominates the state’s private insurance market, collecting nearly 90 percent of premiums. As a nonprofit owned by its members, the company would hope to qualify as a co-op under federal legislation, said Paul von Ebers, its incoming president and chief executive.

Kiku not only links to the NY Times article, but to a couple other diaries. If you want, you can read lots more about BCBSND.


WOW! Rec-listed. Cool.

UPDATE: BCBSND called a press conference for 2pm (Central), but it was pushed ahead to 3pm and now 4pm (2pm Pacific, 5pm Eastern). If it happens, you can stream it from (click on the AM radio button).

Here's what I learned. The 100-page insurance commissioner's report was finished last week. Blue Cross Blue Shield of ND asked for two weeks to read it and come up with a reply. It was supposed to be made public on Sept. 18 (which just happens to be three days after the Sept. 15 deadline for a health care bill).

But it was leaked to the Forum, who wrote a story about it. BCBSND gave the insurance commissioner permission to release the report today. So I think that's what will happen at 4pm. Stories about it will be in the news tonight. I'm guessing that later tonight or tomorrow, you can also probably download a PDF from the ND Insurance Commissioner's website.

Re-update: Nothing very interesting. BCBS says, basically, "We got caught. We're sorry. It won't happen again."

The ND Insurance Commissioner's Report is here: Hamm releases Blue Cross Blue Shield target exam report. There's a link that gives you the PDF.

Originally posted to Dbug on Tue Sep 08, 2009 at 10:56 AM PDT.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

Grassroots Mom, Aexia, Ed in Montana, Angie in WA State, Doug in SF, JWC, TheC, Mimikatz, Sylv, Danny Boy, easong, sipples, Alma, KeithH, tmo, kid oakland, LeislerNYC, Sean Robertson, Mogolori, scribeboy, Chi, Upper West, ryeland, Phoenix Woman, tankej, eugene, Sally in SF, Buckeye BattleCry, ogre, Rayne, SarahLee, slinkerwink, deben, Better Days, gustafgrapple, greendem, mickT, theknife, GreenSooner, Joan McCarter, Kryptik, Gooserock, Powered Grace, nicolemm, saraswati, janinsanfran, PeterHug, RunawayRose, Bob Love, newjeffct, thesill, Robespierrette, superfly, dengre, tommurphy, wu ming, Wintermute, billlaurelMD, Lipstick Liberal, Hesiod, meg, hyperstation, Hope Despite All, BryanRI, Aspe4, eeff, cmkinchi, TX Unmuzzled, dkistner, Pompatus, xynz, polecat, Sandy on Signal, acuppajo, OnStarboardTack, TarheelDem, HarlemUSA, lawnorder, marjo, FyodorFish, zgveritas, twistandshout, MarkInSanFran, bumblebums, niemann, Creosote, dweb8231, strengthANDwisdom, bara, eyeswideopen, Gustogirl, concernedamerican, bronte17, KB, kayebee, jn2375, 88kathy, conchita, EricS, sponson, skrymir, Einsteinia, elveta, annrose, megs, nyceve, understandinglife, sja, sfgb, MD patriot, OCD, djMikulec, srkp23, Time Waits for no Woman, CoolOnion, highacidity, Pithy Cherub, boadicea, Cool Blue Reason, PBnJ, NorthernGoshawk, mkfarkus, pattisigh, buckhorn okie, KS McCann, mrblifil, barath, chechecule, Frederick Clarkson, pedrito, nargel, jbeach, luku, exconservative, superba, DiMe, itskevin, bwren, jalbert, Jesterfox, Iberian, Chrisfs, Yil, wader, revsue, jdmorg, menodoc, danthrax, sockpuppet, TexDem, Dallasdoc, Sycamore, StuartZ, grannyhelen, alivingston, Noodles, crackpot, GrainofSand, Drew J Jones, jaywillie, Douglas Anthony Cooper, cosette, PaulVA, Hawksana, churchylafemme, Ophelia, HeyMikey, BMarshall, Nemagaiq, GN1927, Penny Century, defluxion10, chachabowl, snakelass, porsupah, 313to212, Democratic Hawk, inclusiveheart, General Disarray, econlibVA, AllisonInSeattle, djtyg, ybruti, WV Democrat, KellyB, mungley, skywalker, randallt, lonespark, Vicky, tomjones, CanYouBeAngryAndStillDream, Paul Hogarth, Albanius, lyvwyr101, bablhous, valadon, Daddy Bartholomew, snowbird42, bellers, Sybil Liberty, bibble, thereisnospoon, Timroff, dakrle, TekBoss, donailin, greeseyparrot, oortdust, sawgrass727, Gowrie Gal, Julie Gulden, Big Tex, nailbender, la motocycliste, chumley, Bluesee, saodl, marina, radarlady, 3goldens, Tinfoil Hat, NoMoreLies, Ckntfld, Elise, alaprst, CTPatriot, SherwoodB, mjd in florida, LostInTexas, sallywarden, irate, sc kitty, PBen, sap, Jersey Girl, KnotIookin, Flint, willibro, grimjc, paj1, myeye, kaye, YucatanMan, wildcat6, Laurence Lewis, Gary Norton, reflectionsv37, ratzo, Jules Beaujolais, btrflisoul, GUGA, flubber, dansk47, indiemcemopants, SaraBeth, jorndorff, jimstaro, EdlinUser, uato carabau, Old Hippie, aaraujo, jcitybone, ladybug53, Kayakbiker, Overseas, Ice Blue, Skid, gerardbellavita, blue jersey mom, clarion, Southside, techno, fivefouranonymous, Arctor, Geekesque, Savvy813, Shotput8, Big Nit Attack, farmergiles, mph2005, Aint Supposed to Die a Natural Death, alisonc, wiscmass, serrano, Silence is Complicity, Cory Bantic, Rogneid, bookwoman, the fan man, JanL, Arsenic, jct, JanF, kkjohnson, xanthippe2, timba, Alan Arizona, Land of Enchantment, kathny, fhcec, xaxnar, Jim R, begone, reddbierd, Philpm, SSMir, martini, ksingh, Showman, Shirl In Idaho, suz in seattle, danmac, Ranchita, Nightprowlkitty, Do Tell, tarheelblue, Patriot Daily News Clearinghouse, Keone Michaels, vigilant meerkat, sherlyle, RustyBrown, edwardssl, testvet6778, BlueInARedState, emeraldmaiden, ActivistGuy, Yellow Canary, duckhunter, cookseytalbott, seefleur, koNko, sabredance, buhdydharma, Magnifico, Ohio 2nd, earwulf, Wary, arlene, srvaughn, greenearth, SarekOfVulcan, triv33, tecampbell, MJ via Chicago, StrayCat, Tanya, Lashe, gpoutney, nonnie9999, nilocjin, Libby Shaw, tapestry, Doctor Frog, NC Dem, njheathen, Caoimhin Laochdha, JVolvo, MarciaJ720, Andy30tx, doinaheckuvanutjob, middleagedhousewife, AllDemsOnBoard, pfeffermuse, Pilgrim X, gratis4, llbear, Turbonerd, Nancy Hartley, dirkster42, TooFolkGR, workingmom OH, profh, rsie, Timothy J, Clive all hat no horse Rodeo, BB10, suspiciousmind, fiddlingnero, thecoolmacdude, means are the ends, cherryXXX69, Dreaming of Better Days, kurt, revgerry, Hedwig, blueintheface, markthshark, Aaa T Tudeattack, DBunn, Thinking Fella, tegrat, eastmt, ammasdarling, pale cold, AmericanRiverCanyon, bigchin, tourist305, Noor B, YoyogiBear, zelbinion, asilomar, nipit, Fredly, wa ma, Duke S, Ann Galloway, Wanda517, Cat Whisperer, Loudoun County Dem, oscarsmom, byDesign, blue armadillo, dmh44, tgypsy, Opinionated Ed, possum, SemDem, gloriana, yoduuuh do or do not, Outrider, edsbrooklyn, FishOutofWater, Duccio, Busted Flat in Baton Rouge, la urracca, yowsta, noofsh, blackeyedsusan, Jimdotz, terabytes, ezdidit, Calvin Jones and the 13th Apostle, DWG, MonsterSound, newpioneer, BetterTogether, davehouck, bnasley, malharden, Kyle the Mainer, TerribleTom, puzzled, getlost, jedennis, chicago jeff, vbdietz, quadmom, mudslide, beemerr, millwood, Moderation, Bridge Master, DamnThatOjeda, owl06, pioneer111, Rumarhazzit, uciguy30, leonard145b, madgranny, JML9999, BasharH, eyesoars, stony, Don midwest, TomP, Empower Ink, cville townie, alba, VA Breeze, sand805, JDWolverton, MKinTN, Patricia Bruner, Blue Boy Red State, kafkananda, GANJA, MT Clarity, alkalinesky, Dem in the heart of Texas, mayrose, hkorens, RickMassimo, weegeeone, Phil N DeBlanc, juancito, rontun, ScottyUrb, mamamedusa, rikyrah, Involuntary Exile, elwior, skohayes, ajr111240, slapper95, Pragmaticus, Akonitum, jakebob, mikeconwell, pkohan, Lujane, rssrai, royce, boatjones, hwmnbn, icebergslim, Jake Williams, pademocrat, pickandshovel, MsWings, mofembot, Seamus D, S C B, the new, Gemina13, o the umanity, RDemocrat, bob zimway, pentacon, valsagem, luckylizard, Groucho Marxist, Blogvirgin, xysea, BYw, A Man Called Gloom, allie123, billybam, Simply Agrestic, watercarrier4diogenes, vintagejulie, papicek, Stroszek, MicahT0078, statsone, foolmanchoo, ijarne, forgore, oldliberal, satanicpanic, FudgeFighter, maggiejean, cameoanne, SciMathGuy, Pris from LA, 1BQ, gooners, Bule Betawi, multilee, pileta, Rhysling, WhizKid331, cybrestrike, Mr Tentacle, wtxdem, litoralis, Magick Maven, juca, PapiGonzo, banjolele, Don Enrique, Jdories, Sarge in Seattle, rem123, Gorilla in the room, theworksanddays, h bridges, indres, quantguy, MingPicket, sillycilla, wmdrpa, liberal rican, manucpa, platypus60, TheOpinionGuy, ZilV, dawnt, Hope Monger, igwealth5tm, obscuresportsquarterly, paintitblue, denis diderot, IngeniousGirl, Shelley99, trigorin6, IreGyre, Kiku, RadioGirl, CityLightsLover, MrDeadeye2U, 57andFemale, serecovery, ArthurPoet, sherijr, haremoor, Nonconformist, northernlights, Integrity is fundamental, mcnamarm, ravenlore, MizKit, astral66, Adept2u, Randtntx, math4barack, Tricky, Emalene, Leftcandid, Cleopatra, Larsstephens, Words In Action, ruscle, kfd313, tambora, Just Bob, Culebrito Blanco, ladygreenslippers, draba, lpeggy, angry liberaltarian, awcomeon, grassrootsnm, marabout40, TidBits, winkster, stegro, koch, Vacationland, imamish, Johnnythebandit, blueingreen, blueyescryinintherain, jethrock, seanwhit, Capn Sassy Jas, Indie Tarheel, fidellio, stunzeed, Anima, Tcoopy, Ann T Bush, klompendanser, taiping1, Crabby Abbey, Giles Goat Boy, karmacat, politicjock, XajaX, GeertB, ATFILLINOIS, BonnieSchlitz, RJP9999, puffmeister, ipaman, LouP, lanae, jeanjacques, ItsSimpleSimon, Benintn, paradise50, OnlyWords, juturna, ThisIsMyTime, JasperJohns, DrFitz, DerAmi, JRandomPoster, addisnana, Weaselina, roystah, elengul, MsGrin, BlueFranco, Otteray Scribe, Floande, Nada Lemming, Loose Fur, cocinero, DirkFunk, CA Berkeley WV, Oh Mary Oh, Dems in 08, TigerStar337, cany, Actbriniel, Save America, JanG, slice, Nathan45, High Tide, Rockpopple, JerichoJ8, Onomastic, lcdrjsm, derapsofphoenix, nampa45, BrowniesAreGood, Colorado is the Shiznit, cmulligan01, Dretutz, darkmatter, LiberalViper, nicethugbert, thebluecrayon, wildlife advocate, Kharafina, wahine, Mr MadAsHell, anyname, Amayi, Thunder Mongoose, buffalogal55, Moe Gamble, island in alabama, Sand Hill Crane, inexplore, Philip Vincent, Nicci August, sallym, page394, princesspat, Victory of Renegades, Late Spring, trumpeter, tkwasny, Haf2Read, marleycat, PorridgeGun, good grief, majii, Cinnamon Rollover, Dan Gallo, theone718, dle2GA, athena47, bamabikeguy, felldestroyed, gokinsmen, evilgalblues, merrily1000, UpstateAlan, LSmith, alpraz, lizard people, Grandma Susie, MRA NY, Sark Svemes, IL JimP, shevas01, jediwashuu, pensivelady, whaddaya, MinistryOfTruth, VTCC73, beforedawn, Wom Bat, Nef, happenstance, Brimi, MattYellingAtTheMoon, Anthony Page aka SecondComing, bluck, Book of Hearts, That Korean Guy, disillusionedbabyboomer, thejoshuablog, lol chikinburd, Eric Jaffa, SouthernLiberalinMD, RatCitySqueaker, 3rdGenFeminist, glower, MichaelNY, allergywoman, Azazello, OutcastsAndCastoffs, progressive jim, boredwitnuts, ready for change, Woodrow Stool, AnnetteK

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site