Rubio Introduces Bill to Prevent Obamacare ‘Bailout’

WASHINGTON, DC - MARCH 22: U.S. Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) talks to reporters on Capitol Hill March 22, 2013 in Washington, DC. The Senate is scheduled to vote on amendments to the budget resolution on Friday afternoon and into the evening. (Photo by Drew Angerer/Getty Images)
National Journal
Sophie Novack
Nov. 19, 2013, 4:21 p.m.

Sen. Marco Ru­bio, R-Fla., in­tro­duced le­gis­la­tion Tues­day to re­peal a less­er-known Obama­care pro­vi­sion called “risk cor­ridors” that pro­tects in­sur­ance com­pan­ies from po­ten­tial un­ex­pec­ted changes in mar­ket­place com­pos­i­tion.

The bill is a not-so-subtle at­tack on the health care law, as its im­ple­ment­a­tion would cause ser­i­ous dam­age to the in­sur­ance ex­changes.

The risk-cor­ridors pro­vi­sion is es­sen­tially a safety net for in­surers dur­ing the first three years of the law’s im­ple­ment­a­tion, de­signed to pro­tect the mar­ket­place as a whole if more ex­pens­ive pa­tients sign up than an­ti­cip­ated. In­sur­ance com­pan­ies set cost es­tim­ates ahead of time. If costs end up be­ing high­er, the gov­ern­ment pays part of the dif­fer­ence; if costs are lower, the in­sur­ance com­pany pays the gov­ern­ment.

Ru­bio’s bill, which he dubbed the Obama­care Bail­out Pre­ven­tion Act, would elim­in­ate risk cor­ridors al­to­geth­er.

“[The bill] will en­sure the Obama ad­min­is­tra­tion doesn’t have un­ac­count­able blank-check-writ­ing au­thor­ity to bail out in­sur­ance com­pan­ies at the ex­pense of tax­pay­ers,” Alex Con­ant, a spokes­man for Ru­bio, wrote in an email. “Ru­bio’s bill will fully re­peal the risk cor­ridor pro­vi­sion in Obama­care, pre­vent­ing a bail­out un­der the ex­ist­ing risk cor­ridor pro­vi­sion of Obama­care.”

The risk-cor­ridors pro­vi­sion has at­trac­ted more at­ten­tion re­cently, fol­low­ing the an­nounce­ment of Pres­id­ent Obama’s in­sur­ance can­cel­la­tion ‘fix,’ which would al­low in­surers to ex­tend policies that do not com­ply with the Af­ford­able Care Act for an­oth­er year.

“When Obama­care was de­bated and passed in 2009 and 2010, none of its pro­ponents, in­clud­ing the pres­id­ent, told the Amer­ic­an people that the law gran­ted the fed­er­al gov­ern­ment the au­thor­ity to bail out in­sur­ance com­pan­ies at the ex­pense of tax­pay­ers,” Ru­bio wrote in an op-ed in The Wall Street Journ­al on Tues­day. “But now their dirty little secret is out, and it should be wiped out from the law.”

However, the risk-cor­ridors pro­vi­sion is im­port­ant for avoid­ing the so-called “death spir­al” of high costs and low par­ti­cip­a­tion that could jeop­ard­ize the law. A lack of risk pro­tec­tion could cause in­surers to stop par­ti­cip­at­ing in the ex­changes, or raise their premi­um rates.

The pres­id­ent has already told in­surers that the ad­min­is­tra­tion’s as­sist­ance for them will be lim­ited.

The pro­posed le­gis­la­tion is sure to at­tract some Re­pub­lic­an sup­port, and has already got­ten the back­ing of nu­mer­ous con­ser­vat­ive or­gan­iz­a­tions, in­clud­ing Freedom­Works, Her­it­age Ac­tion, and Amer­ic­ans for Tax Re­form.

The bill is co­sponsored by Sens. Saxby Cham­b­liss, R-Ga.; James In­hofe, R-Okla.; Mike Lee, R-Utah; Mitch Mc­Con­nell, R-Ky.; Rand Paul, R-Ky.; and Dav­id Vit­ter, R-La.

What We're Following See More »
STAFF PICKS
When It Comes to Mining Asteroids, Technology Is Only the First Problem
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Foreign Policy takes a look at the future of mining the estimated "100,000 near-Earth objects—including asteroids and comets—in the neighborhood of our planet. Some of these NEOs, as they’re called, are small. Others are substantial and potentially packed full of water and various important minerals, such as nickel, cobalt, and iron. One day, advocates believe, those objects will be tapped by variations on the equipment used in the coal mines of Kentucky or in the diamond mines of Africa. And for immense gain: According to industry experts, the contents of a single asteroid could be worth trillions of dollars." But the technology to get us there is only the first step. Experts say "a multinational body might emerge" to manage rights to NEOs, as well as a body of law, including an international court.

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Obama Reflects on His Economic Record
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Not to be outdone by Jeffrey Goldberg's recent piece in The Atlantic about President Obama's foreign policy, the New York Times Magazine checks in with a longread on the president's economic legacy. In it, Obama is cognizant that the economic reality--73 straight months of growth--isn't matched by public perceptions. Some of that, he says, is due to a constant drumbeat from the right that "that denies any progress." But he also accepts some blame himself. “I mean, the truth of the matter is that if we had been able to more effectively communicate all the steps we had taken to the swing voter,” he said, “then we might have maintained a majority in the House or the Senate.”

Source:
STAFF PICKS
Reagan Families, Allies Lash Out at Will Ferrell
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

Ronald Reagan's children and political allies took to the media and Twitter this week to chide funnyman Will Ferrell for his plans to play a dementia-addled Reagan in his second term in a new comedy entitled Reagan. In an open letter, Reagan's daughter Patti Davis tells Ferrell, who's also a producer on the movie, “Perhaps for your comedy you would like to visit some dementia facilities. I have—I didn’t find anything comedic there, and my hope would be that if you’re a decent human being, you wouldn’t either.” Michael Reagan, the president's son, tweeted, "What an Outrag....Alzheimers is not joke...It kills..You should be ashamed all of you." And former Rep. Joe Walsh called it an example of "Hollywood taking a shot at conservatives again."

Source:
PEAK CONFIDENCE
Clinton No Longer Running Primary Ads
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

In a sign that she’s ready to put a longer-than-ex­pec­ted primary battle be­hind her, former Sec­ret­ary of State Hil­lary Clin­ton (D) is no longer go­ing on the air in up­com­ing primary states. “Team Clin­ton hasn’t spent a single cent in … Cali­for­nia, In­di­ana, Ken­tucky, Ore­gon and West Vir­gin­ia, while” Sen. Bernie Sanders’ (I-VT) “cam­paign has spent a little more than $1 mil­lion in those same states.” Meanwhile, Sen. Jeff Merkley (D-OR), Sanders’ "lone back­er in the Sen­ate, said the can­did­ate should end his pres­id­en­tial cam­paign if he’s los­ing to Hil­lary Clin­ton after the primary sea­son con­cludes in June, break­ing sharply with the can­did­ate who is vow­ing to take his in­sur­gent bid to the party con­ven­tion in Phil­adelphia.”

Source:
CITIZENS UNITED PT. 2?
Movie Based on ‘Clinton Cash’ to Debut at Cannes
1 days ago
WHY WE CARE

The team behind the bestselling "Clinton Cash"—author Peter Schweizer and Breitbart's Stephen Bannon—is turning the book into a movie that will have its U.S. premiere just before the Democratic National Convention this summer. The film will get its global debut "next month in Cannes, France, during the Cannes Film Festival. (The movie is not a part of the festival, but will be shown at a screening arranged for distributors)." Bloomberg has a trailer up, pointing out that it's "less Ken Burns than Jerry Bruckheimer, featuring blood-drenched money, radical madrassas, and ominous footage of the Clintons."

Source:
×