The Hill's Sarah Ferris details how the Republican who has had the most success in sabotaging Obamacare has been Sen. Marco Rubio, his push to sink risk corridor payments last year has now started to pay dividends when it comes to the GOP plan to wreck the individual health insurance market.
While Rubio’s attempt to scrap risk corridors altogether was unsuccessful, his push contributed to a policy rider that was inserted into a 1,603-page spending bill passed at the end of 2014.
Under the provision, which is still in effect, the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) could no longer tap other accounts — like its overall appropriations or its Medicare funding — to fund the risk corridors program.
Now Rubio is taking his crusade against the "bailout" program to the presidential campaign trail.
The senator and dozens of other Republicans are seeking to renew the policy rider — or repeal risk corridors altogether — in the year-end budget bill that Congress must pass by Dec. 11 to avoid a government shutdown.
“So far, we’ve succeeded in stopping the Obama administration from bailing out healthcare companies under ObamaCare, and it’s critical that Congress once again stand with taxpayers to stop any taxpayer bailout of health insurers from happening,” Rubio wrote in a letter to GOP leaders of both chambers on Tuesday.
Surprise! Republicans now want to tie extending Obamacare's sabotage to the budget bill due in two weeks. Shutdown or wreck Obamacare...Obama's choice, they say.
The damaging effects of the budget-neutral requirement became clear in October.
The Obama administration disclosed it could only afford to pay 13 cents of every dollar owed to the insurance companies — after insurers had already locked in their rates for the upcoming year.
“Obviously what happened was exactly what we thought would happen – there’d be an imbalance. Most of the companies lost money,” said Joseph Marinucci, a senior analyst with Standard & Poor.
“You have to be able to deal with unanticipated events, such as the legislation that would restrict the funding of its corridors,” he said.
Within weeks, about a dozen start-up insurers known as CO-OPs announced they’d be shutting their doors, in most cases because they lacked the cash flow to stay solvent. And at least two other insurers — WinHealth Partners in Wyoming and Moda Health in Washington — pulled out of the exchanges.
Then came the shocking announcement from the insurance giant, UnitedHealthCare, that it might cut its losses as well.
“Essentially what is happening now, and why you’re seeing all of these plans reevaluate their participation [in ObamaCare], they have to rely on their reserves over the next two years,” one industry source said. “It’s caused everyone to reevaluate and consider what changes they have to make to remain viable and stay in the market.”
So yes, the Republican plan to make sure Obamacare wouldn't work correctly has been pretty effective, and now they want to break it to the point where the whole individual insurance market system collapses. And they're willing to shut down the entire government in order to get that done.
Think about that.