November 18, 2016 at 2:25 pm ET
Republicans Introduce Bills to Block Insurance ‘Bailout’
The GOP wasn’t just focused on repealing Obamacare this week. A group of congressional Republicans also want to make sure the Obama administration doesn’t distribute additional funding to insurers as part of the Affordable Care Act’s “risk corridor” program.
Under this program, marketplace insurers paid into a fund, then the administration redistributed that money to companies that lost funding on the exchanges. Its purpose, according to supporters, is to help insurers adjust to the new marketplace created by Obamacare. But the program didn’t bring in as much money as expected, and insurers that haven’t gotten the funding the say they are owed have now sued the administration to recover that money.
Republicans raised concerns that the Obama administration could get around restrictions on using other funds for the program by simply settling with the insurers that have sued, effectively keeping the program in operation. So this new bill would prohibit the administration from using the “Judgement Fund” to pay out any settlements.
The Obama administration has suggested it is open to agreeing to settlements, but has also sought to have the lawsuits dismissed.
“We are going to repeal and replace Obamacare but, in the meantime, the last thing Americans need is for the Obama Administration to sneak in one last bailout on its way out the door,” Sen. Ben Sasse (R-Neb.), one of the sponsors of the Senate bill, said in a statement. “This is simple: the law is the law and no administration can make up new rules when they don’t like the laws.”
Sens. Marco Rubio (R-Fla.), John Barrasso (R-Wyo.) and Mike Lee (R-Utah) also co-sponsored the bill, while Rep. Morgan Griffith (R-Va.) introduced a version in the House.