OUR OPINION: Stop negotiation theatrics

Staff Writer
Gonzales Weekly Citizen

Many Americans have grown fatigued with the way insurance companies operate.

Take any insurer, whether they offer home, auto, health or whatever insurance. Chances are you or someone you know has a bone to pick with a provider.

We find the annual saber-rattling over rates between Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana and Franciscan Missionaries of Our Lady Health System most annoying.

Blue Cross Blue Shield is the state’s biggest health insurer, and the Franciscans operate the state’s largest health care system, including the biggest hospital in Ascension Parish, St. Elizabeth Hospital.

This year, just as happened about this time last year, the Franciscan system has decided not to renew its contracts with Blue Cross and Blue Shield.

The contract does not expire until Feb. 1, 2010, and that is the point.

Last year these two companies conducted a similar public squabble over rates, keeping customers in suspense over whether they would be able to use their insurance if negotiation talks broke down.

Then, just before the contract expired, the provider and the hospital system kissed and made up, and an anxious public ended up with insurance after all.

We wonder if that is not what is going to happen again in 2010 on or around Feb. 1.

Would it be too much to ask of the Franciscan  system and Blue Cross/Blue Shield to spare the negotiating theatrics and just provide the services people expect of them?

The contractual negotiating going on now  does not qualify as news, certainly not in this time when the national health care system is under debate and facing major change. 

To the big dog health care provider and the top health care system in Louisiana, call us when you get a divorce. Now, that would be news.