Congress Should Stop All Obamacare Bailouts

Last Monday, Aetna Inc. announced it would stop selling health insurance on the vast majority of Obamacare state exchanges throughout the country. Aetna now joins a growing list of some of the largest insurance companies in the country who are losing money insuring high-cost consumers and are pulling out of Obamacare as a result.

While this may come as a surprise to some, it seems that the White House knew about this potential problem back when Obamacare was first introduced. In an effort to win the support of health insurance companies during the debate over Obamacare in 2009, three health insurer bailout provisions were written into the bill to compensate health insurance companies for insuring high-cost consumers in the Obamacare exchanges. These three bailout provisions include risk corridors, reinsurance, and cost-sharing subsidies, that combined, could cost taxpayers $170 billion over the next decade.

Bailing out insurance companies with taxpayer money is bad policy and should serve as a reminder to Americans that Obamacare itself is bad policy. The President’s healthcare law has increased insurance premiums, raised taxes, restricted choice, and made hardworking Americans lose their doctors and health care plans. Now the Obama administration wants to use your money to save his failed healthcare law by bailing out insurance companies who are themselves fleeing the Obamacare exchanges.

Obamacare is clearly not working. Congress must work to fully repeal this failed law and enact patient-center health care reform that lowers costs, expands choice and competition, and restores the doctor-patient relationship. In the meantime, Congress should shut down all possible avenues that would bail out insurance companies. Representative Mark Walker’s (R-NC) Taxpayers Before Insurers Act (H.R. 5904) is a good place to start. If passed, this bill would help prevent the reinsurance Obamacare bailout provision and make sure taxpayers are prioritized over insurance companies. Congress should also resist any attempts to extend Obamacare bailout provisions past the end of this year.

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