Remember the good ole’ days when the New York Times wrote pieces like this? You see, back then, when George W. Bush was President, the health insurance companies were greedy, heartless profit mongers that made Grandma cry.
Well, no more. Since the health insurance companies became joined at the hip with the government, Obama’s BFF, The New York Times, thinks they’re just swell. In fact, Robert Pear, journo for the New York Times, rents his rabbinical robes in outrage in this new hit piece blaming Marco Rubio for destroying Obamacare by denying health insurance companies the full profits they so deserve. Boo Hoo.
In spite of the five major health insurance companies stock prices doubling and even tripling since the implementation of (and the direct result of) Obamacare, those poor widdle insurance companies are being hammered by that heartless meanie, Marco Rubio who, according to our favorite supplier of emergency toilet paper, is “undermining the Affordable Care Act” and denying health insurance companies their crony capitalist taxpayer provided bail out money.
Wait, what? Yep!
One of the provisions of ObamaCare was “risk corridor” payments. These were essentially taxpayer bailout money for insurance companies that according to Pear “was intended to help some insurance companies if they ended up with too many new sick people on their rolls and too little cash from premiums to cover their medical bills in the first three years under the health law”.
Pear goes on to state: “The hope was that payments into the program would be in balance with payments out, shielding taxpayers from responsibility.”
Oh well, I guess the “hope” was as good as the Hope & Change of most of the Obama Administration’s promises. But blame Rubio. It’s his fault the whole thing is falling apart.
So what horrible legislative trick did Rubio pull on these persecuted insurance companies? According to Pear, “Because of Mr. Rubio’s efforts, the administration says it will pay only 13 percent of what insurance companies were expecting to receive this year.”
However, Rubio and other lawmakers simply insisted that the payments for the program be “budget neutral” meaning taxpayer dollars couldn’t help the insurers. I guess being fiscally responsible with taxpayer money is no longer an honorable task of a sitting Senator. But why let facts like these get in the way of demonizing Republicans and spoil the pity party for the poor oppressed insurance companies?
While indicting Rubio and describing his actions as “quiet legislative sabotage”, Mr. Pear conveniently leaves out many key points.
First, the risk corridor payments were written into ObamaCare to expire in 2016 regardless. In addition, premiums for next year are already set and according to Larry Levitt, senior vice president at the Kaiser Family Foundation, “Insurers are not going to make decisions about whether to participate in 2017 and beyond based on risk corridor payments.”
Also, while Rubio did champion this measure, it passed as a direct result of last year’s budget neutral requirement resulting in the Department of Health and Human Services announcing to insurers that they would be receiving only 12.6 percent of the funding they requested in 2014. This measure was passed in a bi-partisan vote by Republicans and Democrats.
ObamaCare isn’t being “sabotaged” by Rubio or any other lawmaker. “The Morning Consult” a non-partisan think tank, states: “Some health experts say that either way, the risk corridor program probably won’t have much of an impact on the long-term sustainability of Obamacare exchanges.”
ObamaCare will fail under it’s own weight because it is badly written law and took the “insurance” part out of the framework of the for-profit “health insurance” industry. And when it does, (which I predict will be 2018 if not repealed), expect Pear and his cronies at the New York Times to compose a Requiem blaming Republicans.