KHN Morning Briefing

Summaries of health policy coverage from major news organizations

‘Risk Corridors’ Become Key GOP Anti-Health Law Talking Point

During a hearing of the House Oversight And Government Reform Committee, Republicans tagged this provision as an insurance industry bailout despite Congressional Budget Office projections cited by Democrats that it ultimately will collect billions of dollars from insurers rather than paying them money.  

The Washington Post: Republicans Take Aim At Health-Care Provision; CBO Chief Forecasts Reduced Unemployment 
Congressional Republicans took aim Wednesday at a provision of the health-care law that they claim amounts to “an insurance company bailout,” using a House oversight hearing to push for the measure’s repeal. In a separate House committee hearing, Democrats countered what has emerged as a key GOP talking point by eliciting testimony from the Congressional Budget Office director that the Affordable Care Act would reduce unemployment over the next few years by boosting overall demand for goods and services (Branigin, 2/5). 

Kaiser Health News: Health On The Hill: Hill Republicans Hammer Health Law's 'Risk Corridors'
Republicans labeled the provision a bailout for insurers despite projections it will raise $8 billion. Kaiser Health News staff writers Julie Appleby and Mary Agnes Carey look at the latest GOP attack on the law (2/5).

The Wall Street Journal’s Washington Wire: CBO Estimate on ‘Health Corridors’ Doesn’t Change GOP Concerns
Republicans lawmakers weren’t swayed by Tuesday’s Congressional Budget Office report that seemed to exonerate the “risk corridor” provision in the Affordable Care Act – a provision many Republicans have called a bailout for insurance companies. The CBO estimated the government would actually collect about $8 billion rather than pay money to insurance companies. Previously, it had projected no returns for the government. At a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing Wednesday, Republicans continued to press for legislation to undo the provision, which had been designed to reduce the financial risk to insurers who sold health care plans on the new exchanges (Corbett Dooren, 2/5). 

NPR: Obamacare Opponents Open New Front For Debate In 'Risk Corridors'
Some Republicans have begun to demand the repeal of a key feature in the president's health care law, which protects insurance companies taking part, in exchange for agreeing to raise the nation's debt ceiling. But according to Congressional Budget Office Director Douglas Elmendorf, the so-called "risk corridors" actually benefit the Treasury, rather than costing taxpayers money (Welna, 2/5). 

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