Marco Rubio has a new thing in his stump speech, how he's the only one to actually do something to hurt Obamacare:
It's true, he largely is responsible for stopping what he calls a "bailout" of private insurance companies. What he calls a bailout is the idea of risk corridors. That was a cushion created, paid into by health insurance companies, to help out companies who took on a disproportionate number of sicker, more expensive Obamacare patients. In the early going, companies couldn't predict what their customer mix was going to be to help them set premium levels. For those who ended up paying out more in coverage than premiums brought in, the risk corridor gave them a safety net of funds to draw on. At the same time, the companies who paid out less than predicted and had higher profits paid into the fund.
But in the first year, "claims to obtain money from the program equaled $2.9 billion, while insurers' payments into the system came to $362 million." Health and Human Services would have transferred departmental funding—taxpayer money—to the fund to cover the shortfall, but Rubio blocked them from doing so. The result has been that a bunch of smaller insurers have had to drop out of the exchanges, and a dozen or so health insurance cooperatives that started up under the law have folded. Because they're the ones who couldn't recoup losses.
So congratulations, Rubio, on putting those cooperatives out of business. But that's not all he achieved.
Going forward, some insurers are bound to charge higher premiums, at least for the next year or two, because they can't count on risk corridor money—although we don't know how significant the premium increases will be or how many people they will affect.
It could be responsible for some of those premium hikes insurers are making this year. Oh, and by the way, bailouts generally happen to companies that have done something stupid or reckless causing them to have huge losses. That's not how this works. But adherence to the truth has long since gone by the wayside with Rubio.
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