Something small could turn out to be something big. Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield of NJ is once again trying to morph themselves into a for-profit organization. Okay, that really is semantics because the term non-profit doesn't mean that they weren't making tons of money. It is a legal term for tax purposes and BCBS (and all managed care companies) is always thinking of how to better their position. According to an article in the American Medical Medical News, the conversion may eventually lead to Wellpoint buying Horizon which is bad news to doctors. Why? When these groups get bigger and get even more leverage, they tend to control the prices they will pay us. Trust me, they won't be trying to pay us more. As the article points out, other state BCBS plans are watching this "conversion" attempt very closely. They seem to be salivating knowing that if it gets the go ahead then it will open the door for them to do the same.
This story illustrates a major hurdle for physicians. Those companies and administrators that are in the "business of healthcare" spend part of their time figuring out plans to make more money and the rest of their time scheming how to execute these plans. Physicians spend all their time seeing patients or getting CME. We are outmanned and outgunned and as a result lose every time. I will say it again. When big business took over healthcare, it no longer became about health or about caring.