Obama sets up bailout for insurance companies

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Looks like President Obama, after years of castigating insurance companies for a broken healthcare system, is now ready to cozy up to the industry. Last week, the administration slipped in some new regulations that make a future federal bailout for insurers increasingly likely. Apparently, they hoped no one would notice.

According to reporting in the Los Angeles Times:[1]

The Obama administration has quietly adjusted key provisions of its signature healthcare law to potentially make billions of additional taxpayer dollars available to the insurance industry if companies providing coverage through the Affordable Care Act lose money.

The move was buried in hundreds of pages of new regulations issued late last week. It comes as part of an intensive administration effort to hold down premium increases for next year, a top priority for the White House as the rates will be announced ahead of this fall’s congressional elections.

Welcome to the world of insurance company bailouts. The news, of course, sparked outcries[2] from like-minded conservatives.  In response, Health and Human Services spokeswoman Erin Shields Britt essentially told everyone not to worry, the administration is confident the health care law won’t cause companies to lose money. The administration is confident the bailout funds won’t be needed.

But the last time we checked, adding lots of sick people to insurance plans costs lots of money.  In the world of basic economics, that means companies will have to raise rates in order to cover those new costs. But that wouldn’t look good for the Obama Administration, would it?

Setting up a backdoor to a future bailout is just the kind of cynical ploy we’re used to seeing from the Obama Administration when it comes to this disastrous health care law. From day one, conservatives warned of higher premiums being passed down to consumers. From day one, President Obama dismissed those concerns as political posturing.

Looks like we might have been on to something, huh, Mr. President?