Coming soon: Moderate Republicans to bail out Obamacare exchanges?

In the wake of the failure to repeal the problem known as Obamacare, a group of "moderate" Democrats and Republicans, who call themselves the "Problem Solvers Caucus," are attempting to push the bailout of Obamacare exchange insurers across the finish line.

Former Trump campaign economic adviser Stephen Moore, writing at, calls out Republicans for their participation in throwing "a multi-billion dollar life line to the Obamacare insurance exchanges."  He adds:

If Republicans are partners to this fiscal crime, they are as culpable as the Democrats who passed this turkey in the first place and they certainly don't deserve to be the governing party.

Moore contends that the "Obamacare lobby is salivating" over the idea that omission of the "bailout funds" from the health care law was an "innocent mistake" and that insurer payment funds were "intended to be automatic entitlement payments that would not have to be appropriated by Congress."

The Obamacare behemoth has a voracious appetite for taxpayer dollars, says Moore:

The new health law has given rise to an Obamacare industrial complex. The health system is now like a cocaine junkie hooked on federal payments.

This addiction explains why the insurance companies are lobbying furiously for these funds alongside their new found friends at left-wing interest groups like Center for American Progress. The irony of this alliance is that the left-wing allies the insurers have united with hate insurance companies and want to abolish them. The insurance lobby is selling rope to their hangman.

Working with Democrats on health care – whether the Bernie Sanders wing of the party or the supposed moderates known as the Problem Solvers – is a dangerous game for Republicans, notwithstanding what Senators John McCain (R-Ariz.) and Lamar Alexander (R-Tenn.) seem to think.

Former Indiana Democrat Senator Evan Bayh – who is a "national co-chair of No Labels," which is another label for the Problem Solvers group – has coauthored an editorial piece at touting a "grand" "bipartisan compromise" that boils down to funding the insurance exchange bailout, aka "cost-sharing reduction payments," in return for raising the ceiling for the employer mandate from 50 employees to 500 employees.

The co-authors of the piece sell that as a "huge victory" for "conservatives who came to Washington intent on lifting the burden on free enterprise."

Senator Bayh and his coauthor, former Virginia Republican Rep. Tom Davis, contend this is a "historic" "big deal" that means "a new, better day for America."  Translation: Obamacare gets a bailout, which Stephen Moore says is on the order of $10 billion this year, $20 billion next year, and "more in the years to follow," with some tinkering around the edges, which could easily be undone, to placate Republicans.

A plan floated earlier by the Problem Solvers Caucus also included creating a "'stability fund' to help states reduce premium costs for those with pre-existing conditions, "along with repealing the "2.3 percent tax on medical devices." 

All of those Obamacare-related measures are now in play, however, as Mike Lillis at  reports that "House Democrats want to use the looming battle over government spending and raising the debt limit as leverage to shore up" the Affordable Care Act:

The minority party believes Republicans will need their votes on the critical fiscal issues, and they think they can secure concessions on healthcare.

As outlines, the Democrats hope to "attach provisions stabilizing the Affordable Care Act (ACA) to must-pass spending legislation."  With passage of a debt ceiling increase and a budget for the October 1 fiscal year likely to again divide Republicans, expect the Democrats to play hardball to include a bailout for Obamacare in the budget-spending limit deal:

Conservatives in the House are unlikely to back a clean debt limit hike and will want to cut government spending, not continue it.

They are also unlikely to agree to the kinds of ObamaCare fixes desired by Democrats.

The Democrats may then attempt to peel off enough Republicans to push their so-called compromise through:

The strategy puts moderate Republicans in the awkward position of seeking ways around their leadership to stabilize a law they've long promised to repeal.

Mr. Lillis further observes that any Republican support for bailing out Obamacare "is sure to bring a harsh backlash from conservative lawmakers, activists and President Trump, who continues to needle the Republicans for their failure to send him a repeal bill."  Not to mention harsh backlash from voters.

In the absence of any congressional action, the president faces a decision, as details, on whether to continue with the next round of insurer payments, due August 21, even as the insurance companies face looming deadlines for determining premiums and for participation in next year's Obamacare exchanges.  According to the account, Trump is "seeking guidance from the White House Counsel and Treasury Department's legal office" before making that decision.

The failure to repeal even one word of Obamacare would only be compounded by congressional Republicans doing an end run with Democrats to bail out the Obamacare exchanges.

In Stephen Moore's words:

You can call this a bailout or just a swindle of taxpayers who were fed a litany of lies about Obamacare's virtues from the very start. Either way taxpayers get shafted (again) and the Obamacare industrial complex gets fat and happy.

If you experience technical problems, please write to