Tuesday, August 24, 2010

Singing the Blues in Hindi

I spotted this over at LuLac

Highmark sending work to India, seeking buyouts

Top Pittsburgh health insurer Highmark Inc. has notified employees that it will be off-shoring some of its technology work to India, and is simultaneously asking for buyouts among its tech workers and analysts...We anticipate this new [India Delivery Center] contract will not only provide additional flexibility in adding or reassigning staff, but more importantly help keep our projects within budget," a Highmark official said, in an announcement on the company's intranet site...
The move rubs many the wrong way in that Highmark is paying overseas workers with premium money that largely comes from Pennsylvania companies and policyholders, and also from American taxpayers, since so much of Highmark's business is tied to Medicare, Medicaid and military benefits.

From former Blue Cross employee The Yonk:

Highmark and the Blues aren’t just any insurance company. They are home town products with member dues that come from employers, employees of those companies, senior citizens who buy Medicare Supplement plans as well as working people who buy individual plans. All of that money comes from Pennsylvania taxpayers.
Here’s a key paragraph in the story that sums it up:
As a homegrown nonprofit that operates at the pleasure of the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and the state Insurance Department, Highmark and other Blues claim a charitable mission and, in return for that charitable work, receive a variety of tax breaks from the state and the city. People outside the company, as well as inside, question sending work -- and, in effect, jobs -- to India.

I asked 120th State Rep Phyllis Mundy, who is a big favotite in the Blue Cross board room, for her take:

Well, so much for the Blues' "Social Mission" unless they believe that social mission should extend to India.
Honestly, Gort, sometimes it overwhelms me. So many issues and problems. One step forward and two steps back.
I will check with the Insurance Commissioner and the House Insurance staff as to what, if anything, can be done.
Perhaps the only real solution is to make the Blues go for profit and take away their tax exemption. At least then the 2% premium tax could be put toward a
social mission.


Anonymous said...

The Blues and other insurances will be raising prices and cutting costs. That is what happens when they are forced to accept pre-existing conditions. Insurance is supposed to spread the risk around. That means everyone starts at the same realtive point, healthy, once you throw in pre-existing conditions the equation gets skewed. The cost to the carriers will go up. They aren't going to just eat it.
Thank you Mr. President. Unemployemnet will continue to rise and teh unepmployed who can't affort insurance, they will be fined or if they are lucky put in jail so they can then get health care, that they had back when they had a job

Professor Milburn Cleaver said...

If a business wishes to outsource its work, they are free to do so. The United States is a free market, capitalistic society. Lord rue the day that the government actually can dictate where and how a private business owner can conduct his affairs. The very youngsters who complain about outsourcing are the same children who buy imported clothing at Wal Mart. In short, students, if you want your anti-capitalistic views to become a reality, at least meet your own standards halfway and drop the hypocricy. I find in dealing with young people that there is a self centered "boy in a bubble, me, myself, and I" existence. The little children today have been spoiled from the start and have a sense of entitlement. God knows they couldn't hold a flame to the character of the youth of my generation, who actually donned a uniform and stormed the beaches of Normandy, etc.
I see this self centered sense of "me" everyday and it infuriates me. To the parents out there, heed this advice: it is much more a sign of love if you allow your child to fail. Failure allows a slacker to morph into a go getter.
Admittedly, I have digressed from my original intent in this posting, but I am sure the lesson delivered was worthwhile. Even if only one deadbeat slacker student comes away enlightened.
Class dismissed!!!!

Stephen Albert said...

It used to be that one of the things businesses did...something that was central to their existence...was that they hired and employed people. That was important. It mattered.

By the way the above was first told to me in 1989 by a guy at work named Augie Urgola. At the time I didn't really get it, but almost 22 years (and several rounds of outsourcing) later I do.

Now the only thing that matters is the bottom (company) bottom line. That's okay I suppose in that we want businesses to be profitable, but in the end it's self-destructive for the businesses themselves, as high unemployment (and even higher under-employment) means that consumers spend less...which hurts bottom lines.

Vicious circle anyone?

How about we say that a 12% ROE (instead of, say 15%) is okay in exchange for no outsourcing to foreign lands where workers are paid in chicken? Sounds like a reasonable trade-off to me.

Cammie Novara said...

The minute I read this hilarious Yes We Scam! B.S. We Can Believe In! Obama Approval Plummets story I said that Gort42's commenters have to have an opportunity to see this link: http://hubpages.com/hub/Yes-We-Scam-BS-We-Can-Believe-In-Obama-Approval-Plummets

Unknown said...


"That's okay I suppose in that we want businesses to be profitable..."

Indeed I suppose we do. Very gracious of you to cede that businesses need to make a profit, just not "too much". Never got a job from a poor man.

Take some time to mull over the professors comments. Think about what motivate people to work, save and invest. Try to develop a comprehensive world view that explains what is, not what your dreams are.

Lennon wrote music about imagination and inspired people to dream big. He made lots of money for himself and his band and made millions feel better. Gates and Jobs wrote code and created products that gave 10's of thousands careers, jobs and and tools that made millions of lives better. Both are good, but...