The Los Angeles Times says the Obama administration has “quietly adjusted key provisions of its signature healthcare law” to give billions of additional dollars to health insurance corporations. The bailout is buried in hundreds of pages of new regulations handed down by the government last week.
The move is part of an effort to hold down premium increases ahead of congressional elections later this year.
Democrats argue the bailout provisions have been part of Obamacare since the law was passed in 2010. The Department of Health and Human Services describes the bailout as part of “risk corridor” provisions also included in the Medicare Part D program passed in 2006.
“The insurance companies are all busy setting their premiums for next year,” writes Conn Carroll for Townhall.com. “Without a guaranteed taxpayer bailout, insurance companies will set their premiums higher to protect themselves from financial loss. But if insurance companies know that taxpayers are on the hook for losses, then insurance companies are free to set their premiums low. Obama is essentially subsidizing health insurance company efforts to gain market share by underpricing their product at taxpayer expense.”
“If conservatives want to stop the illegal Obamacare insurance bailout before it starts they must start planning now,” Carroll adds.
Republicans on the Senate Budget Committee have characterized the bailout as “another end-run around Congress.”