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BCBSNC rejects Mission Health's offer to cover patients covered by Obamacare

On Thursday, News 13 received dueling statements from the CEO's of Mission Health and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC) after Mission offered to cover patients covered under the Affordable Care Act. (Photo credit: WLOS Staff)

There are no signs a potential health care divide will be anytime resolved soon.

On Thursday, News 13 received dueling statements from the CEO's of Mission Health and Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina (BCBSNC).

Mission was hoping to make some headway for patients covered under the Affordable Care Act, but that's just the latest way they've agreed to disagree. Mission had announced plans to accept existing rates for those who have no other options, since Blue Cross Blue Shield is the only company on the exchange in the mountains.

"Just before I began this interview, I received a rejection of our offer," President and CEO Dr. Ronald Paulus of Mission Health said. "Shockingly to me, I was really just stunned they've said that it's all or none. If we don't accept all of the 0 percent rate for all their enrollees they won't accept this one either."

This chapter comes as a new contract is needed for Mission Health to remain in the Blue Cross network for consumers. The deadline is October 5.

Blue Cross NC says it remains ready and willing to negotiate on behalf of members as soon as Mission Health withdraws its termination.

Meanwhile, Mission contends it's Blue Cross that's dropped the ball in negotiations.

"They will not talk about a contract," Dr. Paulus said. "They won't talk, won't do anything."

Blue Cross NC President and CEO Brad Wilson argues Mission is to blame for the crisis.

"With today's proposal, Mission Health continues to turn its back on senior citizens, state and county employees, businesses and taxpayers across Western North Carolina," he said in a statement.

"We remain ready and willing to negotiate on behalf of all of our Western North Carolina members as soon as Mission Health fully withdraws its termination," he said.

While Wilson said the latest deal on the table is unfair to tens of thousands of other members, Dr. Paulus said it's hard to comprehend their point of view.

"Yeah, you might want to ask them about that," he said. "For reasons that are inexplicable to me, they've now said they won't stick their original offer, and that it's all or none."

As the impasse continues, BCBSNC said any increase to already high healthcare costs statewide would drive up premiums.

Fifty six days away from the October 5 deadline, the tug of war continues to play out in the news media, and the only thing certain is uncertainty.

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