Marco Rubio has killed ObamaCare

Marco Rubio conceived and pushed a plan that will all but kill ObamaCare -- and he did it years ago.

Thank you.

United Health Care, the nation’s largest HMO, delivered bad news to shareholders but good news for ObamaCare opponents yesterday. The company announced their earnings would take a big hit since ObamaCare and the associated marketplaces have not delivered the customers and the profits that starry-eyed fabulists had projected years ago.

People are not signing up in droves as Barack Obama and all the Democrats and journalists who peddled ObamaCare promised. Expenses are sky-high because among those people who did sign up for ObamaCare policies have been the sickest and most expensive clients in America. Healthier people, whose premiums are needed to fund the program, are staying away because these policies are a bad deal and are unaffordable, especially because at least some have recognized that the Bait and Swindle (low premiums but massive deductibles) have made Obamacare policies unaffordable.

One provision that had been inserted into ObamaCare when it passed (with zero Republicans in favor) concerned risk corridors. These were bailouts of insurance companies that would fund any losses these insurance companies suffered during the first few years of ObamaCare. It was thought these companies may suffer some losses because their actuaries had scant data to set premiums since they did not know just how many sick versus healthy and young people would buy policies through ObamaCare.

The naysayers who warned over the disaster to come were correct and Obama and the Democrats were wrong -- deadly wrong.

Now ObamaCare is cratering and the cratering is going to get deeper in 2016 as premiums continue to skyrocket and more insurance companies refuse to offer policies through ObamaCare exchanges. That promise about being able to keep your doctor and keep your plan was broken for many people years ago, and now millions more will feel the pain as those options are foreclosed to them.

ObamaCare is on life support and we have one senator who we can thank for planning years ahead a way to cripple the fraudulent program: Marco Rubio.

In 2013, Joshua Green, a liberal, recognized the role Marco Rubio played in his so-called “devious plan to kill Obamacare”:

Republican Senator Marco Rubio of Florida will introduce a bill today that represents a new and potentially crippling line of attack against the Affordable Care Act, aka Obamacare. The first line of attack entailed Republican efforts to try to repeal the law outright. That failed. Next came bills Republicans and Democrats introduced to allow people whose insurance plans were cancelled to extend them. This would keep an important group of mostly healthy people from participating in the federal exchanges, driving up costs. These bills are in limbo, but President Obama’s “fix” to the law could have a similar effect, if insurers and state regulators go along.

Rubio’s bill takes a new tack by seeking to abolish “risk corridors,” one of several mechanisms in the law meant to hold down premium costs and entice insurers to participate in the exchanges by ensuring they won’t lose a lot of money if they draw a costlier applicant pool than anticipated. Risk corridors function like Major League Baseball profit-sharing: Insurers who wind up with unexpectedly healthy applicants and lower costs will “pay in” money to the government, which in turn “pays out” to insurers with costlier applicants, thereby stabilizing the nascent market. (snip)

When the law was written, the winners and losers were expected to balance out, making the risk corridors budget-neutral. But if too many insurers lose money, the government may need to step in. While the ACA’s risk corridors are meant to transfer money from winners to losers, the text of the law (it’s Section 1342, for those following at home) makes clear that the government will pay insurers whose costs end up being significantly higher than anticipated. This is what Rubio is seizing on in his new bill—he’s calling it a “bailout” and trying to stop it.

If Rubio were truly motivated by concern that taxpayers might end up footing a “bailout,” there’s an easy solution: Write a bill stipulating that risk corridors must be budget-neutral. Presto, problem solved. But Rubio’s bill is far more sweeping than that—it eliminates risk corridors altogether by striking Section 1342 from the law. This is a clue that his real motivation isn’t to eliminate the possibility of a payout but to eliminate the Affordable Care Act altogether.

Eliminating risk corridors could set off a chain reaction that undermines the law. Some insurers would drop out or decline to participate in the exchanges. Others would run into solvency issues or start charging a risk premium. The actuaries who set rates would jack up premiums for 2015. This could lead to the death spiral of rising costs and declining participation that the law’s supporters worry about. “Basically, it’s a way of killing the exchanges,” says Jost.

Once Republicans took over Congress Rubio’s bill passed into law. There would be no bailouts of health insurers. There would be no bailouts for health insurers. Rubio predicted the problems years before others (as he has with all the foreign policy crises) and figured out a way to deal with them. He laid out his plans in his op-ed in the Wall Street Journal years ago.

When many flailed about fecklessly about repealing ObamaCare (and raised money with such unrealistic appeals), Rubio went about “working the problem” as astronauts from his home state would say.

Rubio has won; Americans have won.

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