PHILADELPHIA (CBS) — Steve Forbes, the Chairman and Editor-in-Chief of Forbes Media and former Presidential candidate, criticized New Jersey Governor Chris Christie’s proposal to seize the reserve funds of Horizon Blue Cross Blue Shield to fund opiate treatment programs, saying, during an appearance on The Rich Zeoli Show on Talk Radio 1210 WPHT, that will not solve the problem of addiction.
“He says he wants to use the money to fight opiate addiction, a nice goal, but there are more better ways to do it, like asking the legislature for an appropriation instead of trying to strong arm and raid a private company, a non-profit and be very vague about where the money is going. He wants to rip out $300 million, raid it for $300 million. What that would do is force the company, because these are reserves against future illnesses of their policy holders, what this would do is raise premiums $600 or more for individuals, over $1000 for a family of four. This is going to happen each year.”
Forbes agreed when Zeoli compared the move to something that would happen in a communist country.
“Your comparison to Venezuela is very apt. They are another country. We assume it’s other countries that have kleptocracy, where when they want something, they just go steal it and take it. This, even though New Jersey has gone down a lot over the years, we’re not Venezuela, we’re not Cuba, we’re not North Korea and the legislature should just flatly say, no. This is not what’s going to be done. You can’t raid private companies, especially non-profits, for whatever reason you think.”
He believes everyone touched by this decision would emerge damaged and questioned the legality of the idea.
“When you go first and raid a company like that, that I think is just blatantly unconstitutional. But, put that aside. What it’s going to do is hurt the company. They’re going to have to raise prices. S&P, Standard and Poors, says they’re going to have to cut the rating of the company, which will raise its costs even more. This is bad all around. I don’t know what the Governor thinks he’s doing or what kind of deal he cut or whatever. It’s bad for New Jersey, bad for policy holders and, ultimately, bad for the Governor.”