Americans for Prosperity protest outside Blue Cross and Blue Shield
The Florida director of Americans for Prosperity, the advocacy group founded by the conservative Koch brothers, protested today in front of the state headquarters of Blue Cross and Blue Shield in Jacksonville to rebuke the company for having a "key role" in the nonprofit Enroll America.
AFP State Director Slade O'Brien said about 15 others joined him for the hour protest outside the headquarters because the company is "using a nonprofit 501C3 to market their product.
"You're not allowed to contribute or work with a nonprofit where you're going to receive financial benefits for doing so ... that's a big no-no," O'Brien said.
The AFP has been a vehement opponent of the Affordable Care Act.
In a prepared statement, Blue Cross Blue Shield spokesman Paul C. Kluding said "Florida Blue has long supported health care reform that increases access to care, improves overall quality, and reduces the cost burden for all people in Florida, consistent with our mission. The Affordable Care Act is complex and Florida Blue supports efforts to inform the people in Florida about it so they can make good health care choices for themselves and their families."
The company did not address statements by O'Brien that having Blue Cross Blue Shield represented on the Enroll board "gives the appearance of collusion."
Enroll America, according to its website, aims to maximize the number of uninsured Americans who enroll in health coverage available as part of the Affordable Care Act.
The website lists the vice president of public affairs for Blue Shield of California as one of eight board members. Others include representatives from the Catholic Health Association of the United States, Families USA and Teva Pharmaceuticals USA.
In a press release, the AFP also stated: "Blue Cross and Blue Shield executives, including the CEO of Florida Blue, met with President Obama and Secretary (Kathleen) Sebelius as recently as April to discuss how they can work together to enroll as many people as possible in insurance policies through the exchange. This is the epitome of a Big Business-Big Government partnership designed to grow private business profits through government force, all under the guise of a non-profit.”