RUBI-CON: Marco Rubio's Risk Corridor Massacre is the gift that keeps on giving
NOTE: Read this for the backstory. The conclusion? The end result of Marco Rubio's shenanigans were:
- About 800,000 people nationally lost their insurance coverage, on very short notice, and were forced to scramble to find alternate coverage
- The new coverage they ended up with was generally more expensive, and in many cases has worse networks
- The federal government has to pay out more in premium subsidies to cover the increased costs as benchmark plans were increased
- Over a dozen insurance carriers went out of business, meaning hundreds of people lost their jobs
- Less competition in those markets, therefore higher premiums, therefore even more cost to the federal government in subsidies to make up the difference
- Since all of the carriers which went out of business were little guys, this also means the big kahunas suck up even more market share
- The original $2.5 billion which Rubio was supposedly trying to "save" taxpayers ends up being paid out anyway; and
- Assuming the government decides to just concede the point (which, by all rights, they should), it's conceivable that Marco Rubio's "genius" stunt from December 2014could also very well end up costing taxpayers $2.5 billion MORE than it would have to just let the government make the payments they were supposed to in the first place.
...all of this just so that Marco Rubio could earn a couple of political brownie points to help him win the GOP nomination for President...which he ended up failing at miserably.
Cut to today (h/t to Richard Mayhew for the heads up), which I'm presenting without comment:
Moda Health Plans on Wednesday became the third insurer in the country to sue the federal government, saying the company could have averted nearly-fatal fiscal problems if the government delivered $180 million in financial assistance it had promised.
The Portland insurer filed the complaint in the U.S. Court of Claims in Washington, DC, arguing it was counting on the $180 million as part of the Affordable Care Act.
Two weeks ago, Highmark Inc. of Pittsburgh filed a similar suit seeking $233 million in unpaid Risk Corridor money. In February, Health Republic, a health insurance co-op based in Oregon, filed its own complaint blaming the company's demise on the federal government's broken promises.
Robert Gootee, Moda's chief executive, said his company never would have jumped so aggressively into the new markets created by the Affordable Care Act if it knew the federal government was going to renege on its obligations.
...Government officials devised the Risk Corridor program as a way to encourage insurance industry participation despite the unknowns. Moda says the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services pledged to Moda $89.4 million for 2015 and $101.8 million in 2016.
...Executives didn't realize until October that Congressional Republicans had managed to quietly kill off the Risk Corridor program. They inserted a provision into a 2014 spending bill that ended up limiting the payments.
Sen. Marco Rubio helped kill the federal financial assistance Moda was counting on.
Led by Sen. Marco Rubio, the Republicans claimed credit for averting a $2.5 billion taxpayer bailout of the insurance industry and pounding a stake into the heart of the Affordable Care Act.
Instead of the $191 million it was counting on, Moda received just $11.2 million.
"We would have been fine if that money had shown up," Gootee said. "We wouldn't have gone through any of what we went through over the past six months."
Mitch Greenlick, an influential state legislator, said Moda fell victim to partisan politics. "I just can't believe what Rubio instigated and the federal government did -- essentially reneging on those promises," said OGreenlick, D-Portland, who was briefed on the complaint. "The insurance companies were left holding the bag. It just about put Moda out of business."