Let’s start with the Exeter/Anthem contract impasse. What we have is two 900 pound greedy gorillas and a situation where there is a lot of money at stake. Some of the numbers that are being thrown around is about 20,000 insurance subscribers and total costs have not been released yet.
What we are looking at is the most expensive hospital in NH by about 50% and a greedy insurance company with a lot of purchasing power. I remember being told, by reliable sources that an Anthem CEO was paid about $600,000 salary and a million $ bonus on top of that. Where do we think this money is coming from? I think it is coming out of health insurance premiums and I firmly believe that greed is what is driving up our health insurance costs as well as our health care $’s.
It seems every contract negotiation period we go through these negotiation gyrations and people like you and me get dragged into the PR war of who is right and who is wrong and how we are all going to lose our favorite doctors. Fortunately, Dorie and I moved our health care to the Portsmouth Hospital and our PCP too so we are not directly affected by all of this; but, what I do know is there is too much money at stake for both parties to continue playing one upsmanship and I would not want to be the Anthem CEO that loses 20,000 subscribers who are paying about 1,000 a month for their health insurance premiums. I don’t believe Exeter Hospital can afford a mass exodus to Portsmouth. There are times that when Dorie and I have gone to Portsmouth Hospital, or any of our other doctors offices, it seems like we are always bumping into friends or other Exeter residents; more people seem to be going to Portsmouth, than Portsmouth patients coming to Exeter and this cannot be good for Exeter Hospital so another hemorrhaging of Exeter patients will not be good.
That is why I think an agreement we will be reached as soon as one of the protagonists blinks.
I have a meeting with the NH Insurance Commissioner next week and we can chat about this.
WHEN IS A FINANCIAL MESS A REAL FINANCIAL MESS??
When the legislative auditors tell you the NH State budget deficit just went up another $100 million dollars to $900 million; when you elect liberals don’t be surprised when they spend us into a huge deficit and the republicans have to come in clean up the mess. The old political saying is put the liberals in control of the social programs and the fiscal conservatives in charge of the purse strings; that way everyone is happy.
My committee assignment is on the finance committee, division one, with Ken Weyler from Kingston as my chairman. Ken and are have been friends and supporters for years and I have the greatest respect for his MIT education and intellect. If anyone can help lead us out of this mess it will be the excellent financial team that Speaker O’Brian has brought together on Ways and Means (they figure out how much money we have to spend) and finance (who figures out where to spend it). I believe the state cuts will be deep and painful; but there might be some hope and ways to mitigate the cuts without passing anything along to the towns.
We need to all remember that what the state does has only minimal impact on you local tax bill. The majority of times it is YOU that determines what your tax bill is by voting in all the local spending increases for the town and especially the schools. If you don’t show up at the deliberative session and vote no on some of these increased spending proposals, then you own your tax bill, not the state. When we complain about our tax bill we are actually complaining about our own action or inaction.