Heartland Institute Health Care Experts: No Massive, Last-Minute Illegal Bailout of Obamacare

Published November 15, 2016

Two Heartland Institute scholars, Michael Hamilton and Justin Haskins, wrote this week in National Review warning the Obama administration is poised to use billions in taxpayer money to bail out insurance companies that are leaving the Obamacare exchanges and driving up premiums for consumers.

This possible action, of course, comes as President-elect Donald Trump has pledged to repeal and replace Obamacare in his first 100 days in office starting January 20, 2017.

Hamilton and Haskins wrote:

“Distracted by the presidential election and the news that Affordable Care Act (ACA) insurance premiums will increase by an average of 25 percent in 2017, many have failed to notice the administration’s plan to use a special U.S. Department of Justice (DOJ) fund, called the Judgment Fund, to funnel billions of dollars to insurers without congressional approval. If it successfully executes this plan, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) will have circumvented Congress to secure a taxpayer bailout for insurers — directly contradicting Congress’s intentions as expressed by multiple spending bills, and possibly violating federal law.”

The following additional statements from health care policy experts at The Heartland Institute – a free-market think tank – may be used for attribution. For more comments, refer to the contact information below. To book a Heartland guest on your program, please contact Director of Communications Jim Lakely at [email protected] and 312/377-4000 or (cell) 312/731-9364.

“The country won a huge coin toss by electing Donald Trump, but the extent to which Trump and congressional Republicans repeal the ACA remains up in the air. President Obama’s last hope for his signature legislation is to pour cement on the disintegrating ACA, such as by recently committing billions of dollars to insurers through the Judgment Fund.”

“The Obama administration has placed Obamacare on life support by promising health insurers billions of dollars in bailouts are just around the corner – courtesy of the bottomless Judgment Fund, which the government uses to settle lawsuits with tax dollars.”

“Committing billions of dollars from the Judgment Fund to insurers could renew their interest in keeping parts of the ACA alive through the Trump administration, buying Democrats time to regain power and set up a ‘public option,’ the forerunner to a single-payer health care system.”

“If Trump and Congress settle for less than full repeal, Obamacare will make a comeback when Democrats do, and the new version will be even more government-centric.”

Michael Hamilton
Managing Editor, Health Care News
Research Fellow
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The Obama administration wants to use the Justice Department’s Judgement Fund to quietly bail out health insurers. It hopes that by doing so, it can pressure insurers to stay in failing Obamacare exchanges long enough to win back Congress and the White House, when liberal politicians will attempt to impose the ‘public option,’ or even worse, a single-payer health insurance scheme.”

“Not only is such a plan deceptive, it would be disastrous for the American people and the quality of U.S. health care. The United States deserves better.”

Justin Haskins
Executive Editor
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]

“The Affordable Care Act had severe flaws from its very inception. The fact that premiums are skyrocketing and insurers are pulling out of the exchanges shows the artificial market the ACA creates is a complete failure.”

“The federal government has spent millions of dollars on state-based exchanges that give the federal government considerable control over what health insurance policies cover and how much they cost. The proposed bailout from the Judgment Fund and move towards a single-payer system are troubling, a doubling-down on a policy doomed to failure.”

“Instead of wasting millions of dollars propping up exchanges that do not work, legislators should focus on creating health care policies that lower costs and empower individuals to control their own health care. Full repeal of the ACA and a move towards a more competitive health care system would benefit patients, doctors, and health care providers alike.”

Matthew Glans
Senior Policy Analyst
The Heartland Institute
[email protected]