Republicans Push To Block Obamacare Bailouts

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Juliegrace Brufke Capitol Hill Reporter
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Congressional Republicans are looking to stop the Obama administration from making large payments to insurers that incurred major losses due to the implementation the Affordable Care Act.

Obamacare’s risk corridor provision assured insurance companies selling their plans on the exchange they would be reimbursed by the government if they took a financial hit, but due to higher-than-expected losses, companies have begun to sue.

GOP lawmakers have expressed their concern over taxpayer dollars being used toward a bailout. They’ve said they’re searching for ways to block the administration’s attempts to bypass Congress by allocating funds for the massive payouts through the Department of Treasury.

Sen. John Barrasso of Wyoming told The Hill attaching the language to a must-pass bill is an option they are considering.

“There is a role for Congress to play,” he told the publication. “You can’t imagine that President Obama would sign such a law, so you’re now talking about, do you try to include it in one of the end-of-the-year funding packages like we’ve done in the past.”

A number of major insurers have cited losses under the president’s landmark health-care legislation as their reason for pulling out of Obamacare marketplaces.

Congress passed a measure limiting funds that could be appropriated toward the payments, leading to the Department of Justice filing to dismiss two lawsuits from insurance companies demanding payments.

While insurers asked the ObamaCare risk corridor program for $2.87 billion in 2014, the Department of Health and Human Services announced in October 2015 it would pay just $362 million.

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