Rep. Bachmann: Stop Taxpayer Bailouts of Health Insurers

Image: Rep. Bachmann: Stop Taxpayer Bailouts of Health Insurers

Wednesday, 15 Jan 2014 09:24 PM

By Greg Richter

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Congress should pass the anti-bailout bills currently in Congress to prevent health insurance companies from profiting at the expense of taxpayers, says U.S. Rep. Michele Bachmann.

Appearing on Fox News Channel's "Your World with Neil Cavuto" on Wednesday, Bachmann, R-Minn., said Americans don't want to see "bailout fever" in Washington.

Bills by Rep. Mike Coffman, R-Colo., and Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fl., call for the government not to aid the insurance industry in the event that its profits fall below projections because too few young, healthy people sign up for heath coverage.

A provision in the Affordable Care Act calls for such "bailouts," as conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer has dubbed them.

"Casinos wouldn't be able to fix the house rules the way that Obama has fixed the rules for Obamacare," Bachmann said. "Always in the government's favor, always in the big insurance companies' favor."

Though insurance companies typically figure in their cost on risk, Obamacare takes that out, she said, calling it "mandated profit for insurance companies."

It's not just young people refusing to sign up that has people thinking the bailout provision could be triggered; there's also the fact that President Barack Obama himself keeps changing the rules, allowing implementation of parts of the law to be delayed a year or more, and delaying initial signup deadlines as the website struggled with bugs that kept people from even logging on for weeks.

But in a Forbes article on Wednesday, Grace-Marie Turner argues that the GOP strategy could backfire. If the bailouts are repealed, the piece says, it will force insurance companies to raise premiums next year, and the blame could be placed on Republicans for causing the rate hikes.

It is liberals who have demonized insurance companies, Turner writes, and conservatives should avoid using their playbook.

"We should focus on the bigger battles, like delay and ultimately repeal of the individual mandate," Turner says.

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