Blue Cross Advertisement from the Former Governor

A Sunday that happens also to be a holiday seems well suited to this minor observation concerning a man who left the public sphere before my time, as it were. From a recent op-ed by former Governor Lincoln Almond:

Every insurer in this state is seeking rate increases, some higher than Blue Cross, some modestly lower. But only one insurer is based here. Only one employs over 1,000 Rhode Islanders. Only one has invested in our capital city. Only one stands as the insurer of last resort, a company you can turn to no matter what your prior conditions have been. Only one stands out as an exemplary example of corporate commitment to the community. That company is Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Rhode Island.

Of course, anybody should feel free to express their opinions in public fora, but there’s something, well, inappropriate-feeling about such an overt advertisement by a former governor. I confess that I suspect that the biography line at the end of the essay is missing a line — a contextual disclaimer, if you will.

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joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

I know Lincoln Almond personally and professionally-he was hands down the best US Attorney I ever encountered(as opposed to Sheldon-the worst)and a totally honest man.
I don’t have to agree with him all the time to respect him a great deal.
He was,however,a very unenergetic Governor.
Honest,but he didn’t really seem to like the job very much.

Rasputin
Rasputin
11 years ago

Only in Rhode Island…
This state never stops ceasing to amaze. I could sit around and think about ridiculous things to say, but I honestly don’t think I could make up something more ridiculous than this.
“one stands out as an exemplary example of corporate commitment to the community.”
I guess in his world, corruption is good? This is the company that was forced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in 2007, to pay $20 million to The Rhode Island Foundation, and admit fault in Operation Dollar Bill. This was the thing where they bought of legislators like John Celona and Gerard Martineau in order for a monopoly. That’s where there are no other insurers in Rhode Island, Governor Almond.
And Rhode Islanders digest crap like this with a collective yawn. Maybe the pollutions put something like Ritalin in the water (a plausible explanation, as I drink soda and beer exclusively.)

Rasputin
Rasputin
11 years ago

Only in Rhode Island…
This state never stops ceasing to amaze. I could sit around and think about ridiculous things to say, but I honestly don’t think I could make up something more ridiculous than this.
“one stands out as an exemplary example of corporate commitment to the community.”
I guess in his world, corruption is good? This is the company that was forced by the U.S. Attorney’s Office, in 2007, to pay $20 million to The Rhode Island Foundation, and admit fault in Operation Dollar Bill. This was the thing where they bought of legislators like John Celona and Gerard Martineau in order for a monopoly. That’s where there are no other insurers in Rhode Island, Governor Almond.
And Rhode Islanders digest crap like this with a collective yawn. Maybe the pollutions put something like Ritalin in the water (a plausible explanation, as I drink soda and beer exclusively.)

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

What’s the problem, Justin? Corporate “Free Market” health care is just that! Most pols sign up for lobbying and make millions after they leave office. What’s wrong with one hawking health care?
Heck, the drug companies spend hundreds of millions on TV ads to convince us to take certain compounds! Do you see a problem with that? No other country in the world allows that to the degree we do, BTW.
Some of those commercials feature famous doctors – like the guy that invented the artificial heart. They get paid big for their endorsements – you know, just like sports!
Guess who pays for ALL of the marketing, advertisements, wining and dining, lobbying, etc. in the end?
You got it, bro! You and I and everyone else.
If you like the Corporate Health Care system we have – and it seems that you and other here constantly pimp for the “status quo”, perhaps you should more closely familiarize yourself with what that represents. It is all based on people spending as much as possible and driven by marketing. The good Gov. is probably getting some consulting business or slipped a few bucks on the side……or maybe free health care…..follow the money, my friend.

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

Stuart-I have to admit I don’t get the former Governor fronting for BCBS,but I am fairly sure he isn’t out grubbing for money-he doesn’t lead the kind of lifestyle where he’d need it.He isn’t dishonest-he is however,a private citizen these days,so he doesn’t have to explain himself.

dave
dave
11 years ago

Are we going to be saying the same thing in 6 months when Carceiri finally fills his pockets as a consultant/lobbyist for Deepwater?

joe bernstein
joe bernstein
11 years ago

Well,Dave-Almond’s been out of public life for about 8 years and even the toughest ethics laws(RI’s are a joke)never impose more than a 5 year conflict of interest moratorium on subsequent employment and/or investment.
Carcieri would do well to steer clear of Deepwater for a long time,probably never.

Rasputin
Rasputin
11 years ago

Stuart,
What perturbed me about former Governor Almond’s comments was the fact that he was heradling a company that is known to be corrupt to be this “exemplary example of corporate commitment to the community”.
I don’t know how long you’ve been around, but in 2007, that company was forced to cough up $20 million and give it to the Rhode Island Foundation to make up for the corruption there. The company was buying legislators to do their bidding at the statehouse (Gerard Martineay, John Celona). And that bidding was designed to limit competition by driving out other companies.
Obviously, this guy Almond is in the company’s pocket, but what baffles me is how he can get away with talking complete non-sense like that. I honestly don’t get how in Rhode Island, someone can say the exact opposite of what’s true and there is no accountability.
It realy is like something out of a George Orwell Novel. “We have always been allies with Oceania. We have always been at war with Eurastasia.”
I will also add that big businesses are always trying to get into bed with the government, so they like big government. It’s small businesses that get the raw deal from big government.

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

Ras, I’m certain that company is corrupt….and so are the big boys who got the largest fraud fines in the history of the country……because of medicare and other frauds…as well as some pharma companies that also were fined hundreds of millions or billions – and paid up because they were guilty.
Columbia/HCA was fined 1.7 billion – yet the former CEO is running for political office now! That company was owned by Bill Frist and family, the GOP head of the Senate!
Here is another recent headline:
“Pfizer To Pay $2.3 Billion For Fraudulent Marketing”
I could fill a book with these examples……..the question is not which part of big health care/insurance is crooked or corrupt or profiteers….it would be what part is NOT?
This is the status quo….that Justin, Monique, Andrew and others so enjoy. They should defend it rather than acting surprised when they see it.

Rasputin
Rasputin
11 years ago

Hey Stuart,
Good point about the big pharma and Frist, et al.
Like I said, big business is always trying to get into bed with big government.
I do, however, suspect you’re making a bit of a straw man argument by suggesting that Justin, Andrew, and Monique support the status quo.
What those two gentleman have argued, is that the government in charge of health care might not be the better solution.
Again, what bothers me is that there seems to be very little, if any outrage when a former governor backs up this corrupt, arrogant entity called Blue Cross. I guess Rhode Islanders are just a bunch of zombies.

john paycheck
john paycheck
11 years ago

my guess is there is a deal in the works for one of lincs relatives that wants a job at blue cross.
linc would never take a penny, but maybe a favor for the family……

David P
David P
11 years ago

What’s laughable is the idea that BCBSRI represents any kind of free market in health insurance. BCBSRI long enjoyed a virtual monopoly on health insurance in this state by being one leg of the iron triangle, along with the General Assembly and the public sector unions. Blue Cross puts a thug like Frank Montanaro on the board and he arranges for special treatment from the state, including collective bargaining clauses mandating BCBSRI as sole health insurance provider. For all his faults, Carcieri deserves some credit for prying open this market with a crowbar and letting United Healthcare in to compete.

Rasputin
Rasputin
11 years ago

David,
You are exactly right. I made that point on an earlier thread in this post when I said that the reason they’re the only insurance company located in Rhode Island is because they bought off politicians like Gerard Martineau and John Celona to do their bidding. And by “do their bidding” I mean drive out the competition.
Yet there’s no outrage from anyone after this arrogant, lazy, slob of an ex governor is allowed to spread this BS.

Stuart
Stuart
11 years ago

As to the status quo, Justin and Monique have used those exact words…..so I doubt I am misunderstanding what they promote. Also, we saw very clearly what the right promotes – as they did absolutely nothing except increase health care costs and the debt related to same (Medicare Part D, etc.).
Outrage over this? That’s pretty far out if one has not had outrage over what has gone on for the last 16 plus years……
One cannot pick and choose and compare things against some nonexistent possibility. There are only two real options – the status quo and change toward a system more in keeping with the rest of the civilized world (who ALL spend less and get more and don’t allow the level of pimping and marketing we do)….
Which is it?

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