To the editor:
Staying on message¬ù may be a good public relations strategy, but it doesn't make Blue Cross Blue Shield's claims true when it comes to their attempt to slash ambulance reimbursements ("Blue Cross only wants fair billing for all," Letters, Times, June 21).
Blue Cross is right when it says it is trying to save $80 million to $100 million annually. But saying the savings would go anywhere but into its own pockets is a far more dubious claim.
The company doth protest too much when it denies trying to shift costs to the cities and towns that ultimately pay for emergency medical transportation. The facts are simple: Blue Cross wants to use its market power to force emergency medical service providers into its network. The problem is that the insurers' in-network reimbursements don't even cover the emergency medical service providers' costs.
As a result, providers would be forced to raise the rates they charge, putting local taxpayers on the hook for the $80 million to $100 million Blue Cross would save. Three years into the worst fiscal crisis since the Great Depression, communities will be forced to cut services, which would result in longer response times. Extending the time it takes for patients to get the care they need would necessitate more extensive and expensive medical treatment.
No matter how vehement Blue Cross's denials, it can't change the simple fact that its proposal is a bad deal for Gloucester taxpayers who are already squeezed by rising health insurance costs and falling state aid.
Fire Chief, Gloucester