In his 2012 State of the Union speech, President Obama declared, “It’s time to apply the same rules from top to bottom: No bailouts, no handouts and no cop-outs.”
Yes. He said that. But in reality, the handouts and cop-outs have kept on coming, like the solar wind.
A Washington Examiner editorial notes that while “Obama blasted the influence of insurance lobbyists and vowed to take on the industry … as president, he passed a health care law that funnels more than $1 trillion in subsidies to insurers, and fines Americans who do not purchase their products.”
Go ahead: call that a handout.
But what about bailouts?
While newspapers like The Washington Post insist that Obamacare is exempt from such an eventuality, there remains the part of the Affordable Care Act known as the risk corridor programs. These reimburse “insurance plans for claims that cost significantly more than premiums that new subscribers paid in,” according to The Post’s Wonkblog. The goal is to protect health insurance companies from the risks they face in the new Obamacare exchange.
Companies that make money will pay into a fund that will be used to bail out companies that lose money. But, after obvious complaints about limits, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) pushed a mandate that the program be revenue neutral, that the money paid out not exceed that paid in.
Last Friday, in 435 pages of regulations, CMS abandoned this call for budget neutrality. Instead, the regulation states, “In the unlikely event of a shortfall for the 2015 program year, HHS recognizes that the Affordable Care Act requires the secretary to make full payments to issuers.”
A taxpayer bailout: fully in place.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.