Republicans accuse Valerie Jarrett of ‘colluding’ with insurer

White House adviser Valerie Jarrett “colluded” to help an insurance company that threatened to raise its premiums under ObamaCare, according to Republicans on the House Oversight Committee.

According to the report, Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield underpriced its insurance plans on the ObamaCare exchanges for 2014 with the expectation that the losses would be covered by the “risk corridors” program, which Republicans have decried as a “bailout” of the insurance industry.

{mosads}When the White House last spring assured that the risk corridors program would be budget neutral — meaning provided at no cost to taxpayers — the CEO of Care First Blue Cross Blue Shield Chet Burrell contacted the White House to warn that his company might be forced to raise premium as much as 20 percent, according  the the report.

Jarrett sprang into action and told Burrell the White House was looking into options to help insurers.

“Ms. Jarrett intervened and wrote to Mr. Burrell that ‘the policy team is aggressively pursuing options,’” says the report. “After the Administration explained how it would implement the Risk Corridor program in April 11, 2014 guidance, Ms. Jarrett wrote to Mr. Burrell that the Administration had given insurance companies 80 percent of what they sought.”

Republicans have assailed the risk corridors a “bailout” of the insurance industry, since the government could be on the hook for payments to insurers if the funding pooled in the “risk corridors” proves insufficient.

The Oversight Republicans said documents show insurers had always expected funding from the government, and pointed to an exchange that the Care First CEO had with Jarrett where he implied rising premiums could be a political problem for the administration.

“This could confront the Administration with a sea of far larger premium increases than expected. Once the filings are made, they will likely quickly become public,” wrote Burrell.

Tags Healthcare reform in the United States Insurance Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act Valerie Jarrett
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