Regarding The Advocate's Aug. 30 article, "Report: Premiums for state employees could rise"
I'm not a state employee, and so I don't have a dog in this hunt, or maybe I have a small dog in there.
The Legislative Auditor's Office says the privatization of the state employees' health plan "could increase costs for state employees."
I hope The Advocate's reiteration of that possibility in its article's title was tongue-in-cheek. Any idiot knows that if you sell a block of business to an insurance company for $133 million, that insurance company will - not might - will recover that purchase price over and above the cost of simply being an insurer.
They, the insurance company, will recover the purchase price from the reported 60,000 state employees whose business the insurance company is buying.
I understand that the state-run Office of Group Benefits employs about 300 state employees to do the work that Jindal wants to "privatize," but more importantly, I understand that they administer the benefits for less, as a percentage of premium dollars, than an insurance company can.
Thus, if the plan is privatized, the 60,000 state employees will get to pay the insurance company's purchase price, and thereafter they will have to pay more administrative dollars than they are now.
Jindal gets a little money, $133 million, and he gets to claim on his résumé that he reduced state government. The 300 Office of Group Benefits folks, who were doing a better job than a private company can, are on the street, or maybe they will be hired by the winning insurance company, and make more money than they did before.
I suppose all of this is good for me, a non-state-employee taxpayer. I'll no longer have to contribute to salaries of the 300 employees of OGB, and the 60,000 folks getting taken to the cleaners - well, that's them, not me.
I should say to the OGB soon-to-be-unemployed employees "Welcome to my world," a world where anyone who uses the words "insurance premiums" and "could increase" in a single sentence is characterized as naive, stupid or both.
So, if we get this windfall from the privatization sale, and run off a bunch of state employees, taxes should go down, right? They could, but I doubt it.
So why do I care?
I care because the Jindal administration, the Legislative Auditor's Office and the commissioner of administration all have been and continue to be disingenuous with the affected state employees on this subject: It will cost those employees more money.
Perhaps Jindal et al. can spend a couple or so more million dollars on reports and studies to better obfuscate the truth. Or maybe they should just tell it.