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What price stability? Insurers want a bailout

August 05. 2017 10:21PM

In a bit of blame-shifting that would make Bart Simpson blush, the people who created Obamacare are pointing fingers at the people who fought it.

"Sabotage!" yell Democrats as the Obamacare exchanges fall apart. If only Republicans would stop blocking payments to insurance companies.

These companies want the federal government to commit to continuing the cost-sharing reduction payments used to cover insurance company losses through the exchanges. These are about $10 billion per year. The Trump administration has continued to make the payments, which have not been authorized by Congress, while a series of lawsuits work their way through the courts. But Trump is threatening to cut them off.

The insurance companies also want to set up reinsurance programs, which would create massive subsidies from the group insurance market, largely through employers, to the individual market.

Set up these two subsidy streams, and insurance companies say the exchanges will stabilize. Yet New Hampshire's two remaining exchange providers won't commit to offering plans next year. Massachusetts has placed Minuteman Health into receivership, putting 27,000 New Hampshire customers at risk of losing their insurance next year.

The only thing sabotaging Obamacare is Obamacare. Putting taxpayers and employer-provided insurance on the hook for Obamacare's failures will merely spread that sabotage to the rest of the health insurance marketplace.

Republican failure to replace this monstrosity is a betrayal to the voters who put the GOP in power. But let's not pretend that anyone but the Democrats created the mess in the first place.

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