Letters: Re:  Revolutionizing Louisiana Healthcare

Published 2:18 pm Thursday, February 8, 2024

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Re:  Revolutionizing Louisiana Healthcare:

The Elevance-BCBSLA Game Changer By I. Steven Udvarhelyi, MD and Morgan Kendrick Elevance Health’s partnership with Blue Cross and Blue Shield of Louisiana. January3.

The January 3rd Opinion article, “Revolutionizing Louisiana Healthcare: The Elevance-BCBSLA Game Changer,” written by I. Steven Udvarhelyi and Morgan Kendrick, should have been identified by the Daily News as Sponsored Advertisement.  It promotes the just-approved merger of two healthcare giants in Louisiana.  However, the authors, CEO of Blue BCBSLA, and President of the Health Benefit Department of Elevance Health, respectively, did not present a likely effect of the merger.  Unbiased reporters would have cited published data that health insurance premiums rise about 13% when a non-profit BCBS converts to for-profit status, as in this merger. Extra payments with a for-profit go to investors.

Louisiana currently has the worst health care outcomes in the country, just as it did in 1965 when I did a health survey in Bogalusa.  Increased insurance premiums following privatization of BCBSLA will worsen these outcomes, no matter how rosily Udvarhelyi and Kendrick present the merger.  It would have been more useful to readers of the Daily News had an article about the merger been written by an unbiased expert in healthcare.

Stanley I. Rapoport, M.D.

Washington, D.C.