Conservative Groups Pressure GOP to Block Obamacare 'Bailouts' • The Hill

A coalition of more than 50 conservative groups is calling on Congress to stop “bailouts” of insurance companies under ObamaCare. 

 

The groups, in a Wednesday letter to members of Congress, are calling for the passage of two bills that would keep funds away from insurers under two ObamaCare programs that have been the target of growing Republican outrage. 

The conservative groups are now further pressuring Republicans. 

“American households deserve better than to have their tax dollars go toward bailouts for insurance companies,” wrote the groups, which include Freedom Partners, Americans for Prosperity, Heritage Action and Americans for Tax Reform. 

Democrats counter that the programs in question actually help lower premiums and say Republicans are simply trying again to undermine the healthcare law. 

The conservative groups are calling for a measure that would block the Obama administration from using the Judgment Fund within the Treasury Department to pay legal settlements to insurers that are suing the government. 

The insurers are suing over a shortfall in a program called risk corridors, which was meant to cushion insurers against heavy losses in the early years of the law by shifting money from insurers faring well to those faring poorly. 

While there is still uncertainty around the lawsuits, paying settlements out of the Judgement Fund could be a way to make up the shortfall and address a damaging hole in insurer finances. Republicans, though, say such a move would circumvent the will of Congress, which limited the program’s funding. 

“Through settlements, the administration could bypass Congress altogether and continue to misuse taxpayer dollars to pay for bailouts,” the groups wrote. 

Republican lawmakers are considering adding language to block settlements into the year-end funding bill, and some have even called to sue the administration.  

Separately, the letter from the conservative groups also calls for a bill to address a similar ObamaCare program, called reinsurance. 

Some of the funds collected under that program were supposed to go back to insurers, and some were supposed to go to the U.S. Treasury.

Due to a shortfall, though, the administration is giving almost all of the money to insurers. 

The nonpartisan Government Accountability Office ruled last month that the administration was violating the law by redirecting the funds in this way, though the administration said it “strongly disagrees” with that decision. 

The conservative groups are calling for a bill that would force the administration to pay the full amount into the Treasury, which is $5 billion over three years.  

Read more via The Hill

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