GOP Senators threaten to shut down Gov't over Obamacare...AGAIN.
A year after shutting down the government, a group of Senate Republicans are pressuring House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) to oppose any funding bill in the lame duck session that includes appropriations for a small program contained in the Affordable Care Act, potentially triggering another showdown.
I noted this issue about a week ago (although I actually have to give credit to anti-ACA advocate Megan McArdle, of all people, for laying it out so well):
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.
At the time, McArdle was theorizing that the GOP could potentially strangle the "risk corridor" payments next year if they manage to take over the Senate. If that happens, it would be ugly but not fatal since, as commentor icowrich put it "risk corridor payments phase out over the next few years, anyway. The most important year was this one. If it goes away in 2015, it's not great, but it isn't the end of the world."
However, now it's looking like 14 Republican Senators--led by Marco Rubio who, I should note, is not up for re-election next month, for whatever that's worth--are prepared to shut down the United States Federal Government again, for the sole purpose of trying to make health insurance premiums skyrocket next year:
The senators did not explain how Boehner should undercut the program, though Roll Call’s Niels Lesniewski and Steven Dennis speculate that the House could “add an explicit prohibition on risk-corridor spending in the next spending bill.” Such a move would likely be opposed by the White House an could lead to another shutdown.
Congress will need to pass a funding bill in the lame duck session to keep the government open past Dec. 11.