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Welcome to Perspectives - Blue Shield's Take on the Health Industry and Policy

BY SEAN BARRY - We’re pleased to welcome you to “Perspectives,” Blue Shield of California’s take on issues of importance to health plans and the industry as a whole.

This blog allows us to share our views on current events in a format that complements the more traditional news release.

There’s a lot to talk about. Specialty drugs treating Hepatitis C and other diseases have made enormous advances, but their costs threaten to cripple state budgets and inflate premiums. Blue Shield has made enormous gains in individual and family plan members through Covered California, and 2016 open enrollment is just a few months away. Relatively narrower networks have been criticized as inhibiting access to care, yet a comprehensive study from Health Affairs found no decline in quality or access when some PPO providers were excluded.

One of the bigger news stories of the summer, of course, was the U.S. Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell to uphold federal subsidies for individuals in Affordable Care Act exchanges. California enrollees would not have been directly affected had the ruling gone the other way, but a ruling for the plaintiff threatened significant disruption in dozens of state insurance markets. The Court’s decision ensures the ACA and Covered California can continue their important work of fully implementing the law.

This blog will also keep tabs on projects Blue Shield is pursuing in the community, like our support for the San Francisco Domestic Violence Consortium and participation in San Francisco’s pride parade. Through Shield Cares, our employees across the state put in volunteer hours for the causes they care about. We’ll write about their experiences, too.

We hope you’ll visit often.

Sean Barry is a communications manager at Blue Shield of California.