Wednesday, March 13, 2013

WellPoint "Officially" #DumpsALEC

WellPoint, Inc. is the largest managed health care, for-profit company in the Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association.

APRIL 2012
From ALEC Exposed
Blue Cross and Blue Shield Association: Member of ALEC's Health and Human Services Task Force[48], "Director" level sponsor of 2011 ALEC Annual Conference[17] ($10,000 in 2010)[18][15][14] - Announced on April 19th that it had not renewed its membership in February 2012.[49] See Corporations Which Have Cut Ties to ALEC for more.

WellPoint, Member of ALEC's Health and Human Services Task Force[13] and "Director" level sponsor of 2011 ALEC Annual Conference[17] ($10,000 in 2010)[18]

Evidently they just took over where Blue Cross left off in supporting ALEC with tax free donations..
MARCH 2013
ALEC Participation
March 1, 2013
WellPoint, Inc. last attended an American Legislative Exchange Council (ALEC) meeting in the Summer of 2011.  Our representative participated in the Health and Human Services Task Force discussion around a resolution calling on the states to oppose setting up their own exchanges.  Our perspective was (and is) that states should establish their own exchange mechanisms.  We lost the debate that day and ALEC passed a resolution calling on the states to not enact their own exchanges.  We have not attended an ALEC meeting since, nor have we contributed any financial support to the organization. We have no current plans to support ALEC or attend any of their meetings.

Which may be the truth
Article Snips from May 16, 2012 (my emphasis)
Union representatives and other protesters repeatedly interrupted Angela Braly, chairman of WellPoint, Indianapolis (NYSE:WLP, after she opened the meeting and introduced proposals for shareholder voting. One person presented a petition she said was signed by 15,000 people asking the company for more disclosure.

Bobby Jones, an AFSCME representative from New Hampshire, asked Braly if she would commit to cutting ties with the American Legislative Exchange Council, or ALEC, a conservative nonprofit group that brings together lawmakers and private sector organizations to develop legislation and policy.

Braly said WellPoint made no contributions this year and engages only "in public policy issues that are core to our business
Well - that statement must not have gotten enough press coverage.
Evidently – WellPoint was still getting enough grief that they felt they needed to make their position on ALEC much clearer to the public and their for-profit stockholders.
So in March 2013 - they "officially" Dumped ALEC

But that doesn’t necessarily paint WellPoint or BCBS Assoc as any type of good guys.

They tried to scam the system

The Affordable Care Act was passed by Congress and then signed into law by the President on March 23, 2010.

ALEC HHS Task Force Roster
October 26, 2010
WellPoint, Inc.
Ms. Neill Myers    Health Policy Manager at WellPoint
Mr. John Willey    Sr. Director, Public Affairs
Timing coincidence – maybe – if you believe in unicorns

ALEC HHS Task Force
June 29, 2011
Ms. Neill Myers    Health Policy Manager at WellPoint
Mr. John Willey   Sr. Director, Public Affairs

They tried to scam the system

Summary:  Twenty-six states have joined in a lawsuit to have the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) ruled unconstitutional.  Nevertheless, many of the plaintiff states continue to plan PPACA health insurance exchanges, using federal funds to do so, undermining their own position as plaintiffs.  This resolution urges state officials to stop planning PPACA exchanges and urges Congress to defund such efforts.

WHEREAS, The federal government has enacted the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) ostensibly for the purpose of making health insurance more affordable for American citizens; and
WHEREAS, PPACA includes a provision requiring the creation of health insurance exchanges (exchanges) in each state where only health insurance policies that meet certain requirements determined by the federal government may be bought and sold; and
WHEREAS, Exchanges may only be established by each state subject to approval by appointed federal officials; and
WHEREAS, If a state does not establish an exchange, appointed federal officials will establish one in that state; and
WHEREAS, State-created PPACA exchanges put states in the position of ceding their resources and sovereignty to the service of the federal government, sacrificing their ability to flexibly serve their own citizens; and
WHEREAS, Twenty-six states are suing to have PPACA struck down partly due to the arguable unconstitutionality of the individual mandate, and briefs submitted by the federal government in Florida v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services make clear that exchanges are a key part of the individual mandate; and
WHEREAS, The United States Supreme Court states in part, in its recent ruling in Bond v. United States, “Federalism secures the freedom of the individual. It allows States to respond, through the enactment of positive law, to the initiative of those who seek a voice in shaping the destiny of their own times without having to rely solely upon the political processes that control a remote central power,” effectively instructing state leaders that they share in the responsibility to preserve liberty; and
WHEREAS, Judge Vinson, in his order of March 3, 2011 staying his original decision in Florida v. U.S. Department of Health and Human Services striking down the PPACA as unconstitutional, stated in footnote 7  that “the severity of that injury [from the PPACA] is undercut by the fact that at least eight of the plaintiff states (noted further infra) have represented that they will continue to implement and fully comply with the Act’s requirements — in an abundance of caution while this case is on appeal — irrespective of my ruling,” clearly implying that as states continue to plan exchanges in preparation for PPACA implementation, the perceived harm to states is reduced, making it less likely the PPACA will ultimately be declared unconstitutional; and
WHEREAS, The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services recently released 70 pages of new rules regarding exchanges that required 172 pages to summarize and clarify, including numerous references to future rulemaking, bringing into question the idea that states have significant flexibility in the establishment of exchanges, and
WHEREAS, If the PPACA is struck down, states planning PPACA exchanges will have participated in wasting millions of dollars of taxpayer funds in planning defunct exchanges; and
WHEREAS, Despite claims by some that states can create PPACA-compliant exchanges that enjoy the benefits of market forces, these exchanges would be completely artificial devices offering insurance products regulated in their essential characteristics by the federal government, making exchanges anything but free markets; and
WHEREAS, PPACA health insurance exchanges will continue to be subject to the arbitrary whims of the federal bureaucracy which, having extensive ongoing rulemaking authority, can render any plan for a state exchange today, no matter how rational and well-designed, obsolete and irrelevant at a later date; and
WHEREAS, The PPACA does not clearly and unequivocally pre-empt state law, containing only a vague provision that seems to say that federal law does not preempt state laws preserving free enterprise health care systems, but the establishment of exchanges necessitates state laws conform to PPACA and states establishing exchanges will actively participate in the pre-emption of their own laws; and
WHEREAS, There is no penalty for a state in allowing the federal government to implement an exchange and doing so puts federal officials in the position of asking a state for permission to operate an exchange rather than states supplicating to appointed federal officials; and
WHEREAS, States can, and should, develop and implement their own, state-based health reform solutions that are tailored to the targeted needs of their citizens without the mandates within PPACA.
NOW THEREFORE BE IT RESOLVED THAT, {Insert state legislature} believes it is not in the best interest of the state for any state official to participate in planning or establishing health insurance exchanges as provided for in the federal Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, {Insert state legislature} urges Congress to defund planning grants to states for the establishment of PPACA health insurance exchanges by the states; and
BE IT FURTHER RESOLVED THAT, Copies of this resolution be sent to the President of the United States, the appropriate leadership of the United States Congress and the United States Department of Health and Human Services, and the entire {insert state} delegation in the United States Congress.
Passed by the Health and Human Services Task Force on August 4, 2011.

WellPoint saw an profit opening when the Affordable Care Act was passed.
An opportunity for more corporate revenue.
So, they went to the slimiest pro-corporate pro-profit organization in the country, to try to increase their profits - using "model legislation" and ALEC legislators.

It didn't work for them - so they unceremoniously kicked ALEC to the curb.
But - WellPoint is probably the exception to the rule.

I congratulate tham for dumping ALEC.
But I bet they would go back and suck up to ALEC if the another profit opportunity presented itself.

They tried to scam the system

- there to help corporations
- scam the system
- for more profits
for a price


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