Polling by McLaughlin & Associates asked, “If private insurance companies lose money selling health insurance under Obamacare, should taxpayers help cover their losses?” By 81% to 10%, respondents said no. (The poll included 38% Democrats and 31% Republicans.)
Is President Obama violating the separation of powers?
Obama lacks legal authority to make risk-corridor payments even if they are budget-neutral. CRS says agencies are prohibited “from making payments in the absence of a valid appropria-tion”; that Obamacare’s risk-corridor section “would not appear to constitute an appropriation”; that agencies “may not create a revolving fund absent specific authorizing legislation,” and that “there does not appear to be sufficient statutory language to create a revolving fund.”
Senator Jeff Sessions recently testified that the “legislation establishing Medicare Part D included a mandatory appropriation,” whereas Obamacare “contains no such language.”
Liberals say that making the risk corridors budget-neutral by law will lead to higher premiums in the Obamacare exchanges. But that would be true only if, in the absence of such legislation, insurers’ losses would have been covered by taxpayers. If the risk corridors were really going to be budget-neutral, as Obama has said and the CBO (taking his word for it) has echoed, such a law wouldn’t raise insurance premiums in the exchanges one bit.
The CBO first scored the risk corridors as providing an $8 billion surplus. But after Obama’s payoff to insurers, the CBO now scores them as budget-neutral. This legislation would merely require such budget-neutrality as a matter of law, rather than as a matter of executive whim.
Such legislation would fight corporate welfare, help Main St. Americans, and thwart Obamacare.