Tags: Barack Obama | Mitch McConnell | Kentucky | health care | co-op

McConnell Slams Federal 'Bailout' of Ky. Obamacare Provider

Image: McConnell Slams Federal 'Bailout' of Ky. Obamacare Provider
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By    |   Friday, 19 Dec 2014 04:42 PM

Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blasted the federal government's decision to provide a secret $65 million loan to one of the largest insurance providers on Kentucky's healthcare exchange, saying it raises questions about the program's stability.

The Kentucky Health Cooperative received the loan to keep it afloat financially from the federal Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) on Nov. 10 five days before Kentucky residents began purchasing private health plans on the state-run health exchange.

But CMS did not announce the loan until this week, The Associated Press reported.

The announcement drew fire from McConnell, who said it "raises serious questions" about the stability of the program.

"If Obamacare were really such a success story in Kentucky, why did this co-op need a taxpayer bailout?" McConnell asked. "Even more disconcerting, why was that bailout kept a secret from the very people who were about to enroll in it?"

CMS said it waited to announced the Kentucky loan together with a $22 million "solvency loan" to Common Ground Healthcare Cooperative, a Wisconsin co-op.

The $65 million brings the total amount of federal taxpayer-backed loans the Kentucky Health Cooperative has received over the past year to more than $146 million, with Common Ground getting almost $108 million in loans, The Daily Caller reported.

The Kentucky and Wisconsin co-ops are two of many created in connection with Obamacare for the purpose of providing added competition for larger for-profit insurers.

In all, CMS has provided more than $2.4 billion in loans to co-ops across the United States, the website reported.

At the Kentucky Health Cooperative, officials actually cite the fact that their program has qualified for loans backed by the U.S. taxpayer as evidence of its success. Co-op officials told the AP the additional loan money was necessary because they had underestimated the number of customers their program would attract.

Kentucky Health Cooperative predicted it would have 30,000 customers, instead it has 57,000.

The cooperative's CEO, Janie Miller, said it had to compete for the loans with other co-ops from around the country.

"I think that the investment of the additional $65 million in the co-op would indicate to me that CMS thinks this is a very successful program," Miller said.

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Incoming Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell has blasted the federal government's decision to provide a secret $65 million loan to one of the largest insurance providers on Kentucky's healthcare exchange, saying it raises questions about the program's stability.
Mitch McConnell, Kentucky, health care, co-op
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2014-42-19
Friday, 19 Dec 2014 04:42 PM
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