Instead of attempting an outright repeal of Obamacare, some in Congress are abdicating conservative principles and throwing the private sector under the bus in a reckless effort to kill the ACA.
The tool of choice in this instance is the so-called “transitional reinsurance” program (“reinsurance”) established by Section 1341 of Obamacare. It was designed as a temporary program to spread out the financial risk associated with providing health insurance to sicker patients in the individual market and exchanges.
Under its terms, health insurers, not the government, were required to pay into a fund that was to be distributed to those insurance plans that had risky patients with medical claims above a certain level.
Now that we’re approaching the end of this temporary program, in place from 2014-2016, some in Congress want to steal the money in this program (in order to precipitate a collapse in the overall ACA program) and instead give it to the U.S. Treasury – but for what? It’ll just be more federal largesse to spent by Obama and big spenders in Congress.
FACT: The White House and its supporters in Congress didn’t tax and regulate enough up front to pay for many of the costly and disastrous Obamacare programs, and in many instances resorted to “rulemaking” to fix the problems. This time Congress is being pressed to act, but instead of repealing taxes or burdensome rules, the plan is just the opposite – new laws and permanent taxes — in order to get more funds in to the US Treasury all the while penalizing the private sector and many Americans who complied with the ACA in the process.
When HHS first issued its rules determining the distribution of the reinsurance funds, critics were rightly concerned that the White House wasn’t following the law it had insisted upon. Moreover, in a February 2016 memorandum by the Congressional Research Service, Congress was informed that the HHS’s interpretation of the statute had reversed the priority for the funds, putting the Federal Government claim on the funds ahead of the Americans who were to be supported by the plan.
This is yet again, another example of how the cumbersome, catastrophic health care law pushed through by Nancy Pelosi and her cronies in Congress isn’t working as they intended.
FACT: Both Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Congressman Mark Walker (R-NC) have introduced a bill that would hand over these dollars to the federal government and the Obama White House.
The “Taxpayers Before Insurers Act” would require the private insurance companies to relinquish the money that they are contractually owed to the U.S. Treasury. Why do these Republicans want to increase the size of the Obama government and punish private companies in the process?
FACT: Health plans were required to reduce their premiums based on the federal reinsurance rules in place.
Insurers were required to both lower this year’s premiums and advance fund people’s medical claims, assuming the offsetting dollars would be paid back. Any good business decision is based on a set of market assumptions, when the rules are changed in the middle of the game it’s not fair – plain and simple – and this will adversely affect the health industry as well as the patients they cover.
FACT: This program receives NO federal funds.
This pool of dollars was 100% funded by privately by healthcare coverage providers without the help of the federal government. In fact, existing payments to health plans have been below the amounts specified in the statute.
FACT: Not paying the private insurers their money back would amount to a hidden tax on the private sector that is paying for the liberal Obama-Clinton agenda.
Any ex post facto effort to redirect the money owed to the insurance industry is wrong. Moreover, the effort to take or tax this money will have the perverse effect of expanding the already ballooning federal budget and runs counter to conservative principles.
Bottom Line: Don’t abrogate conservative principles on the promise that increasing the size of the federal government and taxing the private sector will get rid of Obamacare.
This plan if passed will allow the Federal Budget to balloon while putting a stranglehold on the home budgets of hundreds of thousands of families who will see dramatic increases in premiums and a reduction in options.
Punishing families, the private sector, increasing taxes, and growing government are the wrong solutions for fighting OBAMACARE.