Our republican President Donald Trump has been publicly alleging that the previous democratic President Barack Obama’s administration had deliberately orchestrated that his signature legislation, Obamacare would be marred with negative factors like a spike in insurance premiums, higher deductibles and with insurance companies withdrawing from the ACA exchange marketplace, just as he came into power, in 2017.
Just the opposite is true. It was republican US House representatives who were supposedly led by Senator Marco Rubio of Florida, who claimed credit at the end of December 2015, for sabotaging the (ACA) Affordable Care Act or Obamacare, by gutting provisions to fund the ACA risk corridors as required by the ACA law.
But according to Washington Post Fact Checker Glenn Kessler and the Associated Press’s fact-checking team, “the insertion of the anti-risk corridor provision was a collaborative and extremely quiet legislative maneuver by Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), and Rep. Fred Upton (R-Mich.) and then-Rep. Jack Kingston (R-Ga.). “(Senator Rubio) needs to adjust his rhetoric to acknowledge that the key plays were made by other Republicans — and the news media should not so credulously accept his claim,” wrote Kessler in issuing him Four Pinocchios.”
This maneuver was done with the intention to cause the 2017 spike in premiums and the other negative consequences which the republicans could then use as talking points to argue against the efficacy of the ACA. It is just a fluke that the ACA is not in the death spiral that those opposing it have tried to claim. Instead in 2017, there has been a record number of enrollees signing up for ACA insurance coverage despite all the republicans’ efforts to kill it. This is because there is a real need for hard working folks to have access to affordable healthcare insurance.
This is what the Hill reported on an 11/24/15 article by Sarah Ferris, “I think this is one of the most effective things they’ve done so far in terms of trying to undermine the Affordable Care Act,” Tim Jost, a healthcare law professor at Washington and Lee University, said of Republicans in Congress.”
“This fall, more than a dozen health insurers representing 800,000 people have dropped out of the ObamaCare exchanges, many out of fear that the administration no longer has the cash to cushion their losses in the costly early years of the marketplace.”
“The nation’s largest insurer, UnitedHealthCare, specifically mentioned the specter of a funding shortfall last week when it threatened to end its participation in the exchanges after 2016.”
“The angst in the industry centers on an obscure program in the healthcare law known as “risk corridors” that was designed to shield insurers against losses.”
Even-though I and another blogger, Keith of “musingsofanoldfart” have written numerous posts on this subject, I have noticed that the media has not been covering the connection between the republicans actions regarding their decision to not fund the ACA risk Corridors as required by law, in the 2016 Omnibus bill, and all the negative outcomes that they are now resorting to as talking points against its continuation.
This past week, I have emailed at least a dozen emails to various news outlets, requesting that my assertions get some attention.
Here is an outline of what I have written:
I am asking for greater in-depth contextual coverage as to how the republican legislators who refused to fund ACA risk corridors in 2016, as required by the ACA law, and as they did with President Bush’s 2003 prescription coverage bill, were the catalyst for a lot of the ACA shortcomings that we are witnessing today, like a spike in premiums, increase in deductibles and with some insurance companies withdrawing from ACA market exchanges.
I am convinced that this strategy was implemented with the advice of insurance health industry experts because it is unlikely that the republican legislators would have thought about this on their own. This tactic to sabotage the ACA, required a sophisticated understanding of how insurance works. Words like adverse selection, risk corridors, reinsurance, risk pooling and death spiral are terms that most folks outside of the insurance industry are not familiar with using.This republican plan to sabotage the ACA, goes well beyond the republicans’ negative ads, promising their constituents to end it during election season; filing numerous law suits to strip parts of it; voting on bills to kill it about 50 times; and then not expanding Medicaid in about 19 states. This was the key dagger inserted into the heart of the ACA law by ending any protection of the insurance companies from the consequences of adverse selection, which is what forced the insurers to increase its premiums in 2017.
The ACA law provided for this protection during the three year start-up period for the ACA participating insurance companies which included the years 2014, 2015 and 2016. The insurance industry relied on this commitment but congress pulled the rug out from under them, in the year 2016. For example, Humana is exiting the ACA marketplace because the way the ACA law was written, Humana was owed $591 million but Congress representatives chose to stiff them. In other words, the GOP led Congress insured that the ACA premiums would spike upwards in 2017, harming their own constituents , so that they could then point their fingers and decry the current shortcomings of the ACA to where they have to act to salvage this failing system.
Marco Rubio: We ‘wiped out’ Obamacare ‘bailout fund’ for … – PolitiFactwww.politifact.com/…/marco-rubio/rubio-we-wiped-out-obamacare–…Feb 25, 2016 – “When they passed Obamacare, they put a bailout fund in Obamacare. … We led the effort and wiped out bailout fund.” .
This blog was updated on 3/12/17.