Published on Jan 13, 2014
U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today commented on new evidence of the increasing likelihood of a taxpayer-funded bailout of health insurance companies under ObamaCare. The 'evidence' comes as insurance companies make their first material filings to the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) regarding projections for their ObamaCare risk pools, the Herald's Marc Caputo reports.
According to Rubio, one company has disclosed that "as a result of the December 2013 federal and state regulatory changes allowing certain individuals to remain in their previously existing off-exchange health plans, the Company now expects the risk mix of members enrolling through the health insurance exchanges to be more adverse than previously expected."
Rubio concluded, "American taxpayers should not be on the hook for bailing out health insurers, especially because ObamaCare is not working the way it was sold. Congress should take an ObamaCare bailout off the table by passing legislation I've introduced to repeal the so-called risk corridor provision under the law."
Rubio's position -- that Obamacare can't survive without a taxpayer "bailout of insurers" -- is a little misleading, according to Herald senior healthcare reporter Dan Chang.
"The risk corridors were built into the ACA legislation, so I don't know if it's fair to call it a 'bailout,' at least not in the sense of TARP, or the auto industry bailout. The word bailout implies an emergency spend for some unforeseen circumstance," Chang said.
Since the deadline for the ACA's first enrollment year is March 31, Chang expects the real mix for the insurance companies' risk pools won't become clear until April.
The ACA anticipated from the start that insurers could lose money from a higher proportion of sicker policy holders. The risk corridors provided a built-in payment structure to offset those potential losses for three years, to help companies gain their health reform sea legs. The cost was factored into the original ACA budget.
A bill Rubio proposed last year called the ObamaCare Taxpayer Bailout Prevention Act would repeal the risk corridors.
It's not really preventing a bailout, though. It's defunding the guts of the health reform program.
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