Opportunity lost

In case you haven't heard, Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina will be replacing its CEO next year. Bob Greczyn, who's been pulling down millions in annual compensation, will take his money and run, leaving his longtime colleague Brad Wilson to pick up the pieces.

For the record, I used to be an employee of one of the marketing agencies that works with Blue Cross. I even met with Mr. Greczyn for a half hour many years ago. From what I could tell, he was a smart guy and a quick study. I remember having a glimmer of hope that if he might become a leader in healthcare reform in America.

Imagine what might have happened had Bob Greczyn chosen to put his personal strength and ambition to work on solving our nation's healthcare challenges. With the incredible knowledge held inside the databases at BCBS, he could have been an expert voice for effective change. He could have risen to the forefront among Obama's preeminent advisors on healthcare policy. He could have led the way toward a more enlightened and a more fair system of care.

Instead, Mr. Greczyn advocated for business as usual, putting personal and institutional well-being ahead of the common good, standing against policies that would strive to deliver universal care and cost containment, Mr. Grecyzn became part of the problem.

The irony in all this is that non-profits like BCBS may have had the chance to emerge as big players in delivering services in a single-payer or public-option world. They might have become the private arms of public-private partnerships designed to provide the transaction processing and management functions required to administer a new and saner system. They might very well have been an essential part of the solution.

I don't know if Brad Wilson will be any better at this, but you never know. The folks are NC Policy Watch are inviting readers to offer Mr. Wilson some words of wisdom. My simple advice is to find a better role model.


Maybe I'm wrong

Maybe Bob is going to spend the next year before he retires stepping up to help architect the next generation of healthcare in America. He certainly has the knowledge and charisma to do that.