The cost of secrecy?

Kudos to Dan Kane at the N&O for breaking this story about claims processing fees at Blue Cross and Blue Shield. I wish I understood the technical details better, but it sure looks like their fees are out of line with what's fair. And just in case you're wondering how things got to this point, we have a strong assist from Senator Tony Rand:

A state law sponsored by Senate Majority Leader Tony Rand had kept the PPO contract's contents private from all but a handful of state officials. Plan officials had repeatedly denied requests to make contract information public, but reversed their position after The (Raleigh) News & Observer protested, contending that Rand's law did not pertain to the cost of claims-processing contracts.

If there's one thing we learned from the Bush administration, it is this: when there is no transparency, we the people get screwed.

Take Action to Save Family Homes Now - Part One

Save Our Family Homes

Rep. Brad Miller of North Carolina has worked for years to protect consumers from predatory lenders and now he's battling the banking industry to clean up the mess these lenders made. He has introduced legislation that will prevent the foreclosure of millions of homes.

The Republicans and some Democrats are buying into the hype created by the banking industry. Most of the talking points are flat out lies and much of what is being regurgitated by those members standing in opposition shows they have a profound lack of understanding of the legislation.

Today's action plan has three parts. This is part one.

First call or email your congressional representative.

Here is a simple script for a call:

Rep. Brad Miller's Testimony before Judiciary

Congressman Miller was kind enough to write a post just for BlueNC and put a great deal of time into it. As many here have experienced at times, the post was lost into the ether. In its place, I am posting Congressman Miller's testimony before the House Judiciary Committee.

Chairman Conyers, Ranking Member Smith, members of the Committee, thank you for this opportunity to address pending legislation to empower bankruptcy courts to modify home mortgages, just as bankruptcy courts already can modify every other kind of secured debt. The mortgage industry treats that peculiarity in the law as if it were brought down from Mount Sinai on stone tablets. In fact, it appears to have been just a sloppy compromise in the Senate in 1978, and that nonsensical quirk in the law is now responsible for much of the paralysis in our nation’s response to the foreclosure crisis.

We are just beginning to see the effects of the foreclosure crisis.

Onslow County Politics: Joe McLaughlin Killed My Buzz

This is cross-posted from Bloviations.

Earlier this week (I think it was Tuesday or Wednesday morning) I was bicycling to work and had this flitting thought:

I haven’t heard the names “Joe McLaughlin” or “Delma Collins” in a while. Isn’t that nice?"

And it was, it was very nice…But it wasn’t to last very long.

On Wednesday morning, my co-worker laid a clipping from the day’s Jacksonville Daily News. It was a paid advertisement, sponsored by Joe McLaughlin, which detailed a small slice of funding from the Economic Stimulus Package recently passed by the Congress and signed into law by President Obama.

And it looked exactly like this:

Richard Burr - Weekly Out of Toucher's Address (Feb. 28)

Another bad week for Republicans, and as usual, they didn't notice once again. Our less than esteemed Republican Senator, Richard Burr (R - Out of Touch) was given the opportunity to give the Republican Weekly Address to the Nation on Saturday, February 28 and as usual, he and his merry band of deniers have yet to learn a damned thing about what the American people want and need from their Congressional Representatives.

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