aside How Republicans Sabotaged The ACA In 2016

Image result for photos of republicans selling ACAI and another blogger, Keith of musingsofanoldfart.com, have been writing about how the US House republican legislators had chosen to not fund the ACA risk corridors in the 2016 Omnibus Bill, as required by the ACA law which ended up being the catalyst for the 2017 spike in premiums, increase in deductibles and some insurance companies withdrawing from the ACA marketplace exchanges. So, certain republicans knowingly caused these problems but then they were able use the anticipated negative consequences as talking points against it. But now insurance companies are fighting back via the courtrooms.

And here is the rest of the story…

On 2/13/17, Michael Hiltzik of the LA Times has penned the following report, “With billions at stake, a federal judge just nullified the GOP’s most cynical attack on Obamacare.”

Image result for PHOTOS OF MODA HEALTH INS BUILDING OREGON“Moda Health, a small Oregon health insurer, just won a $214-million judgment against the federal government. Normally that wouldn’t be worth reporting, except that in awarding Moda the money, the federal judge in the case dismantled the most cynical attack on the Affordable Care Act that congressional Republicans had devised.”

“The issue was the Affordable Care Act’s risk corridor program, which was devised to shelter insurers from unexpected losses in covering Affordable Care Act customers from 2014 through 2016. To encourage  insurers to enter an entirely novel market, the program aimed to balance risks by taking funds from insurers that turned out to be unexpectedly profitable and use the money to cushion others’ losses. The model was provisionally written into Medicare’s prescription drug program, Part D, which went into effect in 2006 and worked well to attract insurers.”

“Although Medicare Part D had been a Republican program, this time around the GOP railed against the same risk corridor arrangement as a “bailout” of insurers. They inserted a provision in a 2014 spending bill forbidding Health and Human Services from using any money other than what came from profitable insurers. As it happened, the program ran deeply in the red. The accumulated losses for 2014 and 2015 alone are up to $8.3 billion; some estimates place the total owed over the three years at nearly $15 billion.”

“Wheeler also told the government where to find the money: in its Judgment Fund, which pays plaintiffs who win claims against the government in his court.”

“A ruling like Wheeler’s was long expected by many legal experts. As Nicholas Bagley of the University of Michigan observed following the ruling: “It was only a matter of time before a court entered a money judgment against the United States.” Two other lawsuits are pending in the Court of Federal Claims. One brought initially by two Oregon health insurance co-ops has been certified as a class action. Another, brought by the Illinois insurer Land of Lincoln, was dismissed in November, but is already under appeal.”

Image result for photos of republicans selling ACA“That said, even if the insurers eventually get paid, the GOP attack on the risk corridor program, and by extension on the Affordable Care Act in general, did a lot of damage. In a survey for the New England Journal of Medicine in November, Bagley wrote that the GOP measure “hit particularly hard” at new co-op health plans, which were thinly capitalized but supported by Affordable Care Act loans. Deprived of full risk-corridor payments, “by the end of summer 2016, just seven of 23 co-ops were still in business. As the co-ops collapsed, almost a million people were forced to look elsewhere for coverage.” That contributed to “a sharp reduction in competition on the (Obamacare) exchanges.”

“That underscores the cynicism of the Republican attack. GOP politicians such as House Speaker Paul Ryan (R-Wis.) talk continually about a lack of competition on the Affordable Care Act exchanges as though that’s a structural flaw in Obamacare. They don’t admit that much of that lack of competition is their own handiwork.”

“One remarkable feature of this attack is that, even though it helped destroy some low-income insurers and harmed their customers, Republicans in Congress jostled with each other to take credit for it.”

Related image“Sen. Marco Rubio (R- Fla.) made his championing of the provision a linchpin of his presidential campaign, claiming that his role in the measure saved billions for the American taxpayer. His bragging ticked off the GOP politicos who actually had sneaked the measure into law. Among them was a certain Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.), then the ranking Republican on the Senate Budget Committee, who, as Donald Trump’s newly-minted attorney general, now will have to decide whether to appeal Wheeler’s ruling to a higher court. When Sessions issued a statement listing the measure’s supporters,the Washington Post reported, he “pointedly” left Rubio out.”

“The risk corridor claimants aren’t out of the woods yet. The Moda judgment could be appealed. Moreover, although Judge Wheeler noted that payment from the Judgment Fund is a “path Congress has left open,” Congress also could block that path, simply by enacting a law barring it as a source of risk corridor claims, even with a court order. That measure would have to be signed by President Trump, but as Bagley commented, Trump hasn’t been above stiffing partners in his own business ventures. Why would he stop now?”

6 comments

    • Dear Rob,

      These republicans expected their sabotage maneuver in 2016 to create the “death spiral.” I am sure they were shocked to find out that record numbers of peoples enrolled 2017 ACA exchanges. This is because there is a real need for this access.

      The next sabotage tactic will happen if DT decides not to defend v a case, King v. Burwell, a lawsuit designed by conservative advocates to destroy Obamacare.

      Hugs, Gronda

  1. Gronda, thanks for your continuing follow-up on this issue. Since this story is not only true, but sensational, it should warrant main stream coverage. In short, the GOP screwed the American people to make a point. It is that simple. I find this Machiavellian. Keith

    • Dear Keith,

      I don’t know how I missed this story in January as I am a LA Times subscriber. But it is right on point in explaining how the republicans not funding the ACA corridors, as required in the ACA law caused the problems with the ACA that we are seeing today.

      There is another way, they can sabotage the ACA. DT can decide not to defend v a case, King v. Burwell, a lawsuit designed by conservative advocates to destroy Obamacare.

      Ciao, Gronda

  2. If all the rumors prove to be true, then Ryan and King tRump are intending to backtrack and try once again to destroy the ACA prior to taking action on their plan to take from the poor to give to the wealthy via more tax cuts. IMO the majority of the Kings supporters still do not realize how the repeal of the ACA will actually affect them. Regardless, the tRumpites will still not blame their political god for their woe, it will be everyone and every thing that is a fault other than King tRump…
    I don’t want to see King tRump placed in prison for his crimes, my wish is that he and his family be stripped of all their wealth and relocated to the projects in Harlem, where he can live the life style he thinks is so good… and of course with none of the government assistance he so despises people who are so poor receive!

    • Dear Crustyolemothman,

      When he finally is shown to be the con that he is, he will face the ruin of his name in the history books. He will go down as the worst US president in US history and those who supported/ enabled him will not fare much better.

      Ciao, Gronda

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