While there’s been a long political battle over privatization of a state office that oversees insurance benefits for state workers and retirees, the bottom line is pretty simple.
Does Louisiana remain the only state, other than Utah, that has not contracted out these services?
Gov. Bobby Jindal seeks to put day-to-day management over all the state’s policies under Blue Cross Blue Shield of Louisiana. That would eliminate the jobs of 177 employees in the Office of Group Benefits, who have been managing — apparently, quite efficiently — the preferred-provider policies. Other types of policies, though, have been contracted out for years.
Jindal critics have questioned the estimated $20 million in cost savings from private management, essentially from layoffs, and certainly the administration should have to document that assertion when legislative committees consider this week whether to approve the Blue Cross contract.
At the end of the day, though, isn’t this one of the back-office operations that can be performed in the private sector? The state will remain responsible for oversight of services and premium rates.
The experience of just about every state should be heeded, unless there is found to be a very good reason to emulate Utah.