Sen. Marco Rubio, the Florida Republican vying for position in the crowded GOP presidential field, is reiterating his opposition to an insurance-company friendly part of the Affordable Care Act and hoping congressional leaders follow along.
"So far we've succeeded in stopping the Obama Administration from bailing out health insurance companies under ObamaCare, and it’s critical that Congress once again stand with taxpayers to stop any taxpayer-funded bailout of health insurers from happening," Rubio, a Republican from Florida, said in a letter to GOP leaders on Capitol Hill, including the chairmen of the House and Senate Appropriations Committees.
Rubio wants to make sure the omnibus spending bill for fiscal 2016 currently being drafted does not allow for "risk corridor" payments under the 2010 health care overhaul law. The funding restriction request from Rubio is a reprise of sorts from 2014 .
"If the only way ObamaCare can continue is for taxpayers to bail out health insurers that lose money because of it, that's as good an indication as any that the whole law should be repealed and replaced. It is our responsibility to completely shield the U.S. taxpayer from a deal in the Omnibus that might reimburse health insurers retroactively for these losses or any other future losses," Rubio wrote.
The risk corridor program is designed to compensate insurance companies — required by law to offer health insurance to everyone — from unforeseen expenditures. Insurance firms say the program is necessary to keep coverage affordable for the insured, particularly those receiving health care for the first time. "It's essential that Congress and CMS act to ensure the program works as designed and consumers are protected," Marilyn Tavenner, president of America's Health Insurance Plans, told CNN recently .
That doesn't wash with Rubio, though.
"Let's be clear: the reason these health insurance companies are enduring a financial loss is that ObamaCare is a disastrous law. It broke the promise to lower health insurance premiums and allow Americans to keep their health care," Rubio wrote. "Now the very architects of this law are attempting to place taxpayers on the hook."
The restriction highlighted by Rubio was included in last year's omnibus spending bill as well as the continuing resolution keeping the government funded through Dec. 11, meaning it is among the riders likely to remain without too big a fight, since it has been previously adopted.
See photos, follies, HOH Hits and Misses and more at Roll Call's new video site. Get breaking news alerts and more from Roll Call in your inbox or on your iPhone.