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State treasurer candidates share thoughts on Blue Cross Blue Shield lawsuit

CHARLOTTE — One race on everyone’s ballot in this primary is the battle to replace Dale Folwell as North Carolina State Treasurer.

That person will be in charge of overseeing the state health plan, and right now, a trial is underway.

Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina is suing, claiming a decision to switch the plan to Aetna was made due to errors and unfair scoring.

The Political Beat Team asked all of the candidates whether or not they agreed with the state treasurer’s decision to switch.

We heard back from three candidates: two from the Democratic Party and one from the Republican Party.

Democratic candidate Gabe Esparza says expressing a bias towards one health plan over the other may stop state employees and teachers from getting the best coverage.

“I don’t think it’s proper to express a preference for Blue Cross vs. Aetna given that the next Treasurer will have to oversee the contract, but I don’t think Treasurer Folwell’s bid process passes the smell test on what is best for the state employees and teachers,” Esparza said. “How does a more expensive bid with inferior network coverage win the day?”

Representative Wesley Harris, a primary Democratic opponent of Esparza, says he hopes the treasurer’s office is making the right decision.

“BCBS has a long history and network in North Carolina, and I don’t love that Aetna wasn’t the lowest bidder, which gives me some reservations about the decisions—but at the same time, this was unanimous from the S-H-P board, so they had their reasons, and this hearing will bring those out in clearer terms,” Harris said.

Republican candidate A.J. Daoud expressed his support of Folwell’s decision.

“I feel Treasurer Folwell made a great call in making the switch,” Daoud said. “As a former government employee, it was critical to me and my family to know our expenses. The Treasurer’s ongoing battle with Blue Cross during his tenure is unreasonable and unfair to state employees and retirees.”

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