Congressional Republicans keep saying they oppose Obamacare. Yet they’re refusing to take the simplest and easiest action against it.
The way the law is designed, insurance companies get taxpayer subsidies if they incur big losses on the exchanges. That guarantee has encouraged them to participate in the exchanges. It has also enabled them to charge lower premiums, since they do not have to cover their risks.
Republicans could force supporters of Obamacare to defend these taxpayer subsidies by advancing legislation to stop them, as Senator Marco Rubio (R., Fla.) and Representative Tim Griffin (R., Ark.) have proposed. But their colleagues are balking.
In part, that’s because of disagreement about how to proceed. The “risk corridors” that protect insurers from big losses have two potential funding sources: tax payments from other insurers, and general tax revenue. The question is whether to abolish the risk corridors altogether or end the ability to tap general revenues. Our preference is to do the latter. It’s fine for participating insurers to pool their risks, but taxpayers should not have any exposure for their aggregate losses.