Letters to the Editor by ProQuest


Verizon New Jersey is claiming that competition is bad for New Jersey as the utility's tax revenues, known as personal property taxes, will cost our local towns more than $100 million annually. When a company is under competitive attack, one would expect prices to be slashed; instead, Verizon has been raising its local-service rates even faster than the cable-TV increases. Prices for deregulated services have been going through the roof and basic -rate customers are paying more than it cost before the AT&T breakup in 1984.

More Info
Conversion would unlock Horizon value, benefit state
Michael Kornett, CEO of the Med-            events, including epidemics, natu-                                                                                         determine the company’s value on
                                                                                                         C o r n e r        O f f i c e
ical Society of New Jersey, in his          ral disasters or even terrorist                                                                                            their own is just absurd. It’s just not
April 13 Corner Office piece enti-          attacks. Kornett, however, believes       Have a hard-hitting stance on a New Jersey business issue? If you are a          how the market works and he
tled “Horizon should be more                we can just use them for any               business or policy leader with a strong opinion, we want to hear from           should know that, having success-
clear about possible conversion,”           investments. An odd position since               you. Please send op-ed proposals to editorial@njbiz.com.                  fully sold a managed care company
between attacks on Horizon Blue             the physicians he represents would                                                                                         that he owned.
Cross Blue Shield of New Jersey             be paid from those reserves for         both public officials are taking this   market value of Horizon BCBSNJ —                 Conversion will also benefit
argues that Horizon BCBSNJ is not           services rendered to our members        obligation seriously.                   will go to an independent founda-          the people of New Jersey by
being “transparent” during the              in a time of crisis.                         Kornett seems to be upset that     tion for the benefit of the people of      strengthening its oldest and
conversion process. Kornett is                    Moreover, Horizon BCBSNJ          certain proprietary documents are       New Jersey.                                largest health insurer by giving
wrong and his continued misrep-             has been transparent in its applica-    deemed confidential. Such confi-             By law, the conversion pro-           Horizon BCBSNJ the full range of
resentation of facts undermines             tion to convert from a health service   dentiality, however, is expressly       ceeds must be used by an inde-             financial options available to its
his credibility.                                       corporation to for-profit    contemplated by                                        pendent foundation          competitors, which it does not
      Let’s just take the                              health insurer. In fact,     the law governing                                      for the “purposes of        have today. In particular, Horizon
issues of taxes and                                    the statutory provision      conversion to pro-             We believe              expanding access to         BCBSNJ will gain access to
our reserves. Kornett,                                 governing conversion         tect proprietary           conversion will             affordable, quality         the capital markets and be better
yet again, leads read-                                 requires a rigorous public   information that                                       health care for under-      able to make prudent invest-
ers to believe Horizon                                 process that will include    would benefit our          generate more               served individuals          ments in capabilities essential to
BCBSNJ has not paid                                    public hearings. Horizon     competitors and
taxes for “75-plus                                     BCBSNJ has filed numer-      hurt the company
                                                                                                             than $1 billion for and promoting funda-
                                                                                                                                           mental improvements
                                                                                                                                                                       serving its customers and
                                                                                                                                                                       responding to expected health
years.” This is false                                  ous documents with the       if made public.              New Jersey’s              in the health status of     care reform, while maintaining its
and he knows it                                        state of New Jersey. Most         More impor-                                       all New Jerseyans.”         financial stability.
because we’ve cor-              Thomas W. Rubino       of these filings and other   tantly, everyone               health care             This is a significant             Finally, Kornett questions
rected him before.                                      conversion information      should under-                                          pub-lic benefit.            whether Horizon BCBSNJ’s conver-
                                                                                                               system without
Horizon BCBSNJ paid more than               can be found on www.horizon             stand that con-                                             Horizon BCBSNJ         sion is a great deal for New Jersey
$143 million in 2008 federal and            blue.com/conversion.                    version unlocks               the need for             will not determine          because, as he writes, “I don’t see
state taxes and assessments.                      Horizon BCBSNJ continues to       the value of Hori-                                     its value, the market       it.” Considering that Kornett’s eyes,
      As to our reserves, at the end of     provide information and answer          zon BCBSNJ for                raising state            will. We do know,           and mind, are closed to even the
2008, Horizon BCBSNJ had $1.45              questions posed by the commis-          the benefit of the                taxes.               however, that whatev-       possibility that conversion could
billion in reserves, not $2 billion.        sioner of the Department of Bank-       people of New                                          er the ultimate value       be beneficial to New Jersey, we are
Unfortunately, Kornett doesn’t let          ing and Insurance and the attor-        Jersey. We believe                                     of the company is, it       not surprised his ability to see is
the facts get in his way.                   ney general, both of whom are         
To top