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is a massively flawed law with a real impact that has destroyed health insurance in America, and it needs to be repealed and replaced.”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)