In which Megan McArdle lays out a quite rational argument for voting for Democrats in November.
This is something of a miracle. Not only do I find myself quoting Megan McArdle in a favorable way for the 2nd time in 10 days, but her entire article is actually written in a fair, factual, reasonable way:
The Affordable Care Act includes several reinsurance programs that were supposed to help insurers mitigate the risk of mispricing their policies as they ventured into the strange new world of selling insurance on the government exchanges. The administration is leaning hard on these programs to keep insurers in the game, allowing payments out to be higher than payments in, and otherwise substantially reducing the potential losses that insurers can experience when selling exchange policies.
...The GAO responded that the payments are indeed legal, but for them to be legal again in 2015, the appropriations language for 2015 would have to be similar to this year’s language.
What does this mean? Well, if Republicans take control of the Senate, it theoretically means that they could effectively choke off the risk-corridor payments to insurers simply by refusing to appropriate money for them.
In other words, this is Yet Another Reason® to make absolutely certain that the Republican Party doesn't take control of the Senate. They don't need to actually repeal the Affordable Care Act in order to damage it (or the country); they have already caused plenty of harm via the "death of a thousand cuts" method (fighting it tooth & nail all the way, refusing to implement Medicaid expansion in half the states, lying and confusing the public about what's actually in the bill, etc etc).
UPDATE: Annnnnnd right on cue...
“We should not be bailing out a failure,” [Florida Republican Sen. Marco] Rubio said Tuesday. “Given the Obama administration’s history of taking executive action to rewrite ObamaCare and ignoring the legislative process, Congress needs to make sure taxpayers don’t end up paying for an ObamaCare bailout in 2015 or ever.”
...“GAO has confirmed beyond dispute that the Department of Health and Human Services has no legal authority to disburse risk corridor payments under ObamaCare absent a congressional appropriation,” Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) said. “I hope this nips in the bud any ideas this overreaching administration might have of paying out money not appropriated by Congress.”
It's worth noting that Rubio isn't up for reelection and Sessions is uncontested this year...meaning neither of them face any consequence from threatening the healthcare coverage of millions of people.