Back in 2013, [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] was very vocal about “risk corridors,” which were essentially guarantees that any company that took part in the government’s health care exchanges would get help in preventing losses. Rubio did not like this, and so he went on to fight it, eventually getting a rider put into a budget agreement effectively killing the program in 2014 by saying the Department of Health could not draw money from other sources in order to pay back those losses.
Companies like United Healthcare, a major health insurance provider, are threatening to pull out of the program by 2016, citing funding issues directly related to that rider from 2014. From The Hill:
The program was almost certain to need extra money in the first few years, when there were fewer healthier customers signing up. But Rubio’s provision in 2014 severely limited any new spending by requiring the program to become budget neutral.
The damaging effects of the budget-neutral requirement became clear in October.
The Obama administration disclosed it could only afford to pay 13 cents of every dollar owed to the insurance companies — after insurers had already locked in their rates for the upcoming year.
This is a very meaningful win that is taking a while to really see the effects of. Now that it is visible, [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ] has something not even [mc_name name=’Sen. Ted Cruz (R-TX)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’C001098′ ] can claim: a major victory against the Affordable Care Act. That so many insurance companies are wanting to drop out now is a sign that this was never a sustainable program in the first place, and solidifies the argument that it could never save money.
What comes next will be interesting. If Republicans can stick together and fight the risk corridors tooth and nail without caving to special interests, then it will be the Democrats who are asking for bailouts for the big insurance companies they spent years calling evil in order to justify the need for the ACA in the first place. If the Republicans cave, however, then two things happen: 1) Obamacare rolls on and 2) the D.C. Republicans who are eyeing Rubio as a replacement for Bush will essentially be hanging him out to dry.