Washington Examiner reporter Byron York told Fox News on Thursday that a bailout of health insurance companies “absolutely will happen” under Obamacare, claiming a government lifeline is actually “built into the law.”
York spoke with Fox News’ Greg Jarrett and Jamie Colby about the latest healthcare tweak announced today by the White House, which allows those who were unable to sign up in time for coverage to file “appeals” to be considered on a case-by-case basis. Colby asked the reporter to break down what next month will look come Jan. 1, when Obamacare health plans are supposed to take effect.
“I wish I could tell you,” York replied. “Nobody really knows now. Because what — the basic fundamental problem here is that since all of the problems with the Obamacare website that emerged beginning on Oct. 1, the administration has been improvising this whole thing… and what the administration has done in this improvisation is ask insurance companies to just go easier on people who think they have insurance starting Jan. 1.”
“And some insurance companies have said if they receive payments by Jan. 10, they will consider that retroactive to Jan. 1,” he continued. “Others have said Jan. 15 retroactive to the first. Others have said not retroactive at all. It’s a very confusing situation, and I think what is unavoidable is that after the first of the year, people that require expensive health care treatment are going to find out then that they may not be covered as they thought.”
York explained that hospitals will continue to treat seriously ill individuals even if their Obamacare coverage fails, meaning the costs will be passed onto the healthcare providers themselves. “Of course, this was the system that the Affordable Care Act was supposed to remedy,” he noted, “and right now it doesn’t appear that there’s going to be a lot of change in that come Jan. 1.”
But it was Colby’s suggestion that the government may end up bailing out health insurance companies — now poised to cover hundreds of thousands of sick individuals without the assistance of premiums from the young and healthy — that really raised eyebrows:
COLBY: What do you think about these bailouts of insurance companies, as well? Could that happen?
YORK: It absolutely will happen —
COLBY: Will happen?!
YORK: As a matter of fact, it’s written into the law. There’s something called “risk corridors,” which basically ensure that if an insurance company ends up paying a lot more in benefits than it takes in in premiums, then the federal government will bail it out — it will make it good. And it looks like we are entering a situation — certainly in the first month of January — where the insurance companies will be in that situation. And they’e not going to take the losses. It will be the taxpayer who makes up for those losses.
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