Rep. Rosa DeLauro (Conn.), the top Democrat on the Appropriations health subcommittee, says she is “happy” to include a rider in the spending bill that would limit payments to insurance companies under ObamaCare.
Republicans are pressing for the rider to be included again in this year's funding bill in order to prevent what they've called a “bailout” of insurance companies under the health law.
And DeLauro, at least, is not fighting them.
“I'd be happy to have it in there,” she said, noting that it’s better than other ObamaCare riders from her perspective.
“It's not the rider that talks about defunding the Affordable Care Act,” she said.
The health insurance industry is pushing against the provision and is also pushing for broader changes to boost the risk corridor program.
But, DeLauro said, “I don't carry a brief for the insurance companies. They do pretty well.”
In October, the Obama administration announced that not enough money had come into the program and insurers would only be getting 12.6 percent of the $2.87 billion that they requested.
That left a hole in the budgets of insurance companies and contributed to the closure of several nonprofit co-op health plans set up under the law. Even UnitedHealthcare, the nation's largest insurer, cited the risk corridor shortfall when it said last month that it could exit the ObamaCare marketplaces after 2016.
America’s Health Insurance Plans (AHIP), the insurer trade group, points to the nearly 800,000 people who have to change their coverage after losing it through the closure of co-ops and other plans.
"There is a growing recognition about the instability facing consumers in the market,” AHIP spokeswoman Clare Krusing said in a statement. “Nearly 800,000 Americans have faced coverage disruptions as a result of the significant and unexpected shortfall with the risk corridors program. Congress and the Administration must act to make sure consumers are protected.”
The spending bill is still being negotiated, and the insurance industry has not seen a specific risk corridor proposal to comment on.
Sen. Marco RubioMarco Rubio House passes water bill with Flint aid, drought relief What the 2016 election can tell us about 2018 midterms Fight over water bill heats up in Senate MORE (R-Fla.), a presidential candidate, has made fighting the insurance “bailout” a leading cause. In addition, conservatives in the House Freedom Caucus say the issue is one of their deal-breakers on the spending bill.
“We will not support anything that has a bailout of the insurance companies,” Rep. Matt SalmonMatt SalmonRyan delays committee assignments until 2017 GOP lawmakers praise Trump for Taiwan call Trump eyes House members for Cabinet jobs MORE (R-Ariz.) said after leaving the House Republican Conference meeting on Thursday. “And I don't think that's going to be in there anyway, I got that sense.”