Rubio Saves Taxpayers Over $2.5 Billion In Obamacare Bailout Funds, Calls For Taking Option Off The Table For Good

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 U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) issued the following statement regarding last night’s Obama Administration announcement confirming that his efforts against taxpayer-funded bailouts of health insurance companies under ObamaCare succeeded in saving taxpayers over $2.5 billion this past year:

“American taxpayers have prevailed for now over ObamaCare’s crony capitalist bailout program. Taxpayers should never have to bail out health insurance companies that lose money under ObamaCare, and now we need to take that option off the table for good by passing my legislation to repeal the risk corridor provision in ObamaCare once and for all.

“The risk corridor provision was passed within ObamCare under the broken promises of lower health insurance premiums and Americans being able to keep their health insurance plans. ObamaCare is a massively flawed law with a real impact that has destroyed health insurance in America, and it needs to be repealed and replaced.”

Rubio’s ObamaCare Taxpayer Bailout Prevention Act is endorsed by the following policy advocacy groups: American Conservative Union, Americans for Prosperity, Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for Liberty, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Club for Growth, Freedom Works, Heritage Action, HSA Coalition, National Taxpayers Union, Tea Party Express and the 2017 Project.

BACKGROUND: HOW RUBIO SAVED TAXPAYERS OVER $2.5 BILLION IN OBAMACARE BAILOUT FUNDS FOR HEALTH INSURANCE COMPANIES

·       Under ObamaCare, health insurance companies that lose money can seek taxpayer funds to cover their losses.

o   Palm Beach Post: “If an insurance company’s medical claims exceed anticipated costs, a federal ‘risk-corridor’ program reimburses a share of those costs. It’s a lesser-known piece of Obamacare intended to cushion risks for insurers between now and 2016 as companies adapt to sweeping healthcare changes.” (“Florida Blue chief: GOP attacks on insurance ‘bailout’ unfair,” Palm Beach Post, 8/14/2014)

 

·       Last night, the Obama Administration announced it will disburse just $362 million to health insurance companies to help cover losses under ObamaCare – well short of the $2.9 billion requested by health insurance companies that incurred a loss by participating in Obamacare

 

o   Politico Pro: “Insurers will be paid $362 million from Obamacare’s risk corridors program for 2014 – or just 12.6 percent of the $2.9 billion in payments they requested. HHS officials, who announced the figures Thursday evening, maintained that insurers will eventually receive the requested payments during the next two years of the temporary program.” (Risk corridor payments far below insurers’ requests,” Politico Pro, 10/1/2015)

 

·       Health insurance companies immediately criticized the shortfall in bailout funding.

 

o   Politico Pro: “Insurers are criticizing today’s announcement by the Obama administration that they’ll receive just $362 million out of $2.9 billion in requested risk corridors payments for 2014… The health law requires that insurers will eventually receive their requested payments. But it’s unclear where the funds will come from to fully pay for it. A budget deal reached last year requires the program to be budget neutral. The risk corridor program was designed to protect insurers entering the Obamacare exchanges.” (“Insurers criticize HHS decision to pay out a fraction of requested risk corridor payments”, Politico Pro, 10/1/2015)

·       The Obama Administration was unable to pay the remaining $2.5 billion because of a provision which U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) fought to include in the December 2014 omnibus spending bill passed by Congress, which forced the risk corridor program to be revenue neutral – in other words, not funded by taxpayers.

 

o   Rubio: “For over a year, I’ve fought to protect Americans from having to fund massive bailouts to protect the profits of the insurance companies that helped write Obamacare. While there is much in this massive spending measure that is simply bad for America, at least the provisions protecting against a taxpayer-funded bailout of insurance companies are a step in the right direction. While the Obama administration can still administer the risk-corridor program, for one year at least, they won’t be able to use taxpayer funds to bail out insurance companies. When Congress returns next year, I will fight to permanently repeal the risk corridor provisions to protect taxpayers after the current legislation expires.” (“Rubio Comments On Obamacare Bailout Provisions,” Press Release, 12/10/2014)

·       In October 2014, Rubio had directly urged House Speaker John Boehner to use the budget process to prevent a taxpayer-funded bailout of health insurance companies under ObamaCare.

 

o   Rubio: “As you know, the current CR will expire on December 11, 2014… Though Congress will determine the expiration date of the next CR later this year, it is likely the next CR will extend to a date in 2015 when risk corridor payments are reconciled… The President intends to ignore Congress’s explicit and exclusive authority by spending money on the risk corridor program without an appropriation from Congress. The American people expect us, as Members of Congress, to fulfill our Oath of Office and defend the Constitution. Therefore, we must act to protect Congress’ power of the purse and prohibit the Obama administration from dispersing unlawful risk corridor payments providing for an Obamacare taxpayer bailout.” (“Rubio, Colleagues To Boehner: We Must Protect Congressional Authority, Prohibit Obamacare Bailout,” Press Release, 10/8/2014)

·       Rubio was the first to identify the likelihood of a taxpayer-funded bailout of health insurance companies under ObamaCare in November 2013, when he introduced legislation to repeal it. (“Rubio Introduces Bill Preventing Taxpayer-Funded Bailouts Of Insurance Companies Under ObamaCare,” Press Release, 11/19/2014)

 

o   He later introduced additional legislation in April 2014 specifying that ObamaCare’s risk corridor program must remain budget neutral, thus preventing taxpayer dollars from being used to bail out health insurance companies. (“Rubio Introduces Legislation To Hold Administration Accountable, Protect Taxpayers From ObamaCare Bailout,” Press Release, 4/1/2014)

 

o   In February 2014, Rubio testified before the House Oversight and Government Reform Committee about the danger of taxpayers having to bail out health insurance companies under ObamaCare.

 

§  Video & Transcript.

 

o   In the current Congress, Rubio’s first bill introduced would eliminate taxpayer-funded bailouts of ObamaCare for good. (“Rubio Introduces Bill Preventing Taxpayer-Funded Bailouts Of Insurance Companies Under ObamaCare,” Press Release, 1/8/2015)

Rubio Introduces Bill Preventing Taxpayer-Funded Bailouts Of Insurance Companies Under ObamaCare

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U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) today introduced The ObamaCare Taxpayer Bailout Prevention Act, a bill that would eliminate a provision of ObamaCare that allows for taxpayer-funded bailouts of insurance companies at the Obama Administration’s sole discretion. This is the first piece of legislation introduced by Rubio in the 114th Congress.

The bill would repeal section 1342 of ObamaCare, which establishes a risk corridor program to distribute money from exchange plans that earned profits to exchange plans that suffered losses. However, the risk corridor program was not designed to be budget neutral, and section 1342 of ObamaCare puts the American taxpayer at risk of a taxpayer bailout if insurers systematically lose money on exchange plans. By repealing Section 1342, the legislation would force the administration to come back to Congress to request appropriations to cover any losses in the program.

“One of the biggest threats to the American Dream is the rising cost of living, which ObamaCare is making worse through rising health care costs and loss of coverage,” said Rubio. “Taxpayers should not have to fund massive bailouts to protect the profits of the insurance companies that helped write Obamacare, which is why I’ve been fighting for over a year to protect taxpayers from yet another bailout that puts them on the hook for Washington’s mistakes.

“Under December’s omnibus spending bill, taxpayers are protected from bailing out insurance companies until September 30, but now Congress has the opportunity to take the possibility of a bailout off the table for good,” added Rubio. “By passing this bill, Congress will ensure that no bailout will occur, in 2016 or ever.”

The ObamaCare Taxpayer Bailout Prevention Act is co-sponsored by Senators Jeff Flake (R-AZ), Jim Inhofe (R-OK), Mike Lee (R-UT), John McCain (R-AZ), Rand Paul (R-KY), Pat Roberts (R-KS), Mike Rounds (R-SD) and David Vitter (R-LA).

Companion legislation was introduced in the House today by U.S. Representative Andy Harris (R-MD).

“The American people should not have to shoulder the burden of the President’s failed health care plan and bailout insurance companies, while millions across the country have lost their coverage and seen increased health care costs. President Obama continues to sit back and force taxpayers to foot the bill for a law that is crippling the economy, killing jobs, and weakening health care in the United States,” said Dr. Harris. “Section 1342 is just another example of presidential overreach and the President’s complete disregard for the Constitution. Its repeal will protect taxpayers from future costs brought on by his disastrous law.”

The legislation is also endorsed by the following policy advocacy groups: American Conservative Union, Americans for Tax Reform, Campaign for Liberty, Center for Freedom and Prosperity, Council for Citizens Against Government Waste, Club for Growth, Freedom Works, Heritage Action, HSA Coalition, National Taxpayers Union, Tea Party Express and the 2017 Project.

Rubio Comments On Obamacare Bailout Provisions

U.S. Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL), the original sponsor of S.2214, the Obamacare Taxpayer Bailout Protection Act, today issued the following statement regarding the Obamacare bailout provisions in the omnibus spending bill released last night:

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“For over a year, I’ve fought to protect Americans from having to fund massive bailouts to protect the profits of the insurance companies that helped write Obamacare. While there is much in this massive spending measure that is simply bad for America, at least the provisions protecting against a taxpayer-funded bailout of insurance companies are a step in the right direction. While the Obama administration can still administer the risk-corridor program, for one year at least, they won’t be able to use taxpayer funds to bail out insurance companies. When Congress returns next year, I will fight to permanently repeal the risk corridor provisions to protect taxpayers after the current legislation expires.”

In October, Rubio and his colleagues sent a letter to Speaker Boehner urging him to protect Congress’ power of the purse and prohibit the Obama administration from dispersing unlawful risk corridor payments that expose taxpayers to an Obamacare bailout.