Senators Seek to Stop $2.5 Billion Taxpayer-Funded Obamacare Bailout

Demand risk corridor program be kept budget neutral

doctor money
AP

A delegation of leading senators are seeking to stop the Obama administration from providing some health insurers with a $2.5 billion taxpayer-funded bailout under a provision in the Affordable Care Act, or Obamacare, according to congressional communication exclusively obtained by the Washington Free Beacon.

The senators are petitioning their colleagues on key committees to ensure that U.S. taxpayers will not have to foot the bill for excess costs incurred by insurance companies selling low-cost coverage under the Obamacare program, according to the letter, which lambasts the healthcare program for burdening middle- and lower-class families.

The letter—sent Thursday to leaders on the Senate’s appropriations committee by Republican Sens. Marco Rubio (Fla.), Mike Lee (Utah), John Cornyn (Texas), John Barrasso (Wyo.), Cory Gardner (Colo.), David Vitter (La.), Jim Inhofe (Okla.), and Thom Tillis (N.C.)—centers around a contested Obamacare provision known as risk corridors.

Under this provision, the federal government compensates insurance companies if they wind up with larger costs as a result of selling cheap insurance policies to unhealthy individuals under Obamacare.

The senators are seeking to get language in the fiscal year 2017 budget that would ensure that the risk corridor program remains budget neutral amid attempts by the Obama administration to use some $2.5 billion in taxpayer funds to bailout insurers.

"American taxpayers should never be responsible for bailing out health insurance companies that lose money under Obamacare’s crony capitalist bailout program," Rubio, who is spearheading the effort, told the Free Beacon on Thursday. "It is crucial that we do everything we can to continue restrictions on the bailout program and support these provisions throughout continued consideration of this year’s appropriations measures."

"Obamacare is a disastrously flawed law, and I continue to do everything I can to ensure American taxpayers are not left bailing out health insurers because of its massive failures," Rubio added.

The letter emphasizes that without a provision to ensure budget neutrality, the administration will move forward with its $2.5 billion bailout.

"In addition to the harm this disastrous law has placed on Americans, the Obama administration has made clear its desire to use $2.5 billion in taxpayer dollars to bailout insurance companies through the risk corridors program," the senators write.

GOP leaders have been battling the risk corridor program for the past two years, since the provision sparked anger among opponents of the Affordable Care Act.

"Thanks to Republicans in both chambers of Congress, and despite immense pressure and lobbying from health insurance companies, spending legislation for the last two years has included a restriction on the risk corridor program that only allows funds to be paid out of the program that have been paid in to the program, thus making the risk corridor program budget neutral," they write. "This provision must also be included in this year’s appropriations measure to continue protecting American taxpayers from bailing out health insurers because of the failures of Obamacare."

"As more shortcomings of this catastrophic health care law are coming to light, we must remain steadfast in not allowing the Obama administration to further harm individuals who have already been burdened with rising premiums, forced to change doctors, or have hours at their jobs reduced in order to fill the coffers of big insurance companies," the senators write.

"Since there are numerous instances of questionable legal provisions in Obamacare, we must make clear the Obama administration does not have the authority to use funds outside of the risk corridor program to bail out insurers," the letter continues. "We also urge you to eliminate or limit the ObamaCare reinsurance program, which the Obama administration has also used to illegally bail out insurers before depositing funds to the Treasury Department, as it is statutorily required to do."