This Bill Would Stop the Obama Administration From Prioritizing Insurance Companies over Taxpayers

In order to convince health insurance companies to participate in the financially risky Obamacare exchanges, three health insurance bailout provisions were written into Obamacare including risk corridors, reinsurance, and cost-sharing subsidies. These bailout provisions were meant to compensate health insurance companies for losses sustained while participating in Obamacare.

The reinsurance program required the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to collect “assessments” or taxes on all employer-provided health-insurance plans and first reimburse taxpayers $5 billion for operating the program and then second pay health insurance companies with high-cost patients.

But rather than follow the law, which requires a reimbursement of taxpayers first, HHS has been prioritizing health insurance companies, bailing them out to the tune of $8 billion, so far, while only giving back $500 million to U.S. treasury. It is very likely that health insurance companies will eventually receive a total of $20 billion in bailouts while taxpayers will receive less than the $5 billion we were supposed to get.

Thankfully, Senator Ben Sasse (R-NE) and Representative Mark Walker (R-NC) have introduced the Taxpayers Before Insurers Act (S. 2803 and H.R. 5904). This bill would “penalize HHS for illegally prioritizing big insurance companies ahead of taxpayers through the Affordable Care Act’s reinsurance program” by cutting “50 percent of HHS’s general department management fund unless the Secretary of HHS pays the full amount taxpayers are owed.”

Obamacare is raising taxes on businesses and families, failing to lower insurance premiums, and taking away health care plans and doctors from hard-working taxpayers, yet the Obama administration is dedicated to bailing out insurance companies. While shielding taxpayers from Obamacare’s failed policies is a good start, Congress must continue working to repeal the law entirely and enact patient-center health care reform that will lower cost, increase choice, and improve quality of care.

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