Here comes the insurance company bailout, just in time to suppress big rate hikes before the fall election:
The Obama administration has quietly adjusted key provisions of its signature healthcare law to potentially make billions of additional taxpayer dollars available to the insurance industry if companies providing coverage through the Affordable Care Act lose money.
The move was buried in hundreds of pages of new regulations issued late last week. It comes as part of an intensive administration effort to hold down premium increases for next year, a top priority for the White House as the rates will be announced ahead of this fall’s congressional elections.
Administration officials for months have denied charges by opponents that they plan a “bailout” for insurance companies providing coverage under the healthcare law.
I’m not sure “bailout” is quite the right word, but it is a case of using your tax dollars to buy votes and to allow rent-seeking insurance companies to seek even higher public rents. Nice work if you can get it, I suppose.
But what I really want to call your attention to is this outrageous bit of goalpost moving from totally unbiased reporter Noam Levey:
Although more than 8 million people signed up for health coverage under the law, exceeding expectations, insurance companies in several states have been eyeing significant rate increases for next year amid concerns that their new customers are older and sicker than anticipated. [Emphasis added]
The original “expectation” was 15 million, down from 22 million, down from 30 million, down from 46 million.
There might be a story in there, Noam. Somewhere.