The Republican Senate health care bill will result in an estimated 22 million fewer people being covered by health insurance, as the tax credits for buying health insurance are projected to be well below the expected costs of buying insurance.
Nonetheless, the bill does contain some very significant and substantive subsidies — for insurance companies.
Bloomberg reports that the Senate GOP bill contains $50 billion set aside for a market-stability fund that Republicans once decried as a “bailout” fund for the insurance industry. Overall, the bill features $15 million a year for insurers in 2018 and 2019, and $10 million a year for insurers in 2020 and 2021.
Bloomberg notes that the fund is “intended to protect insurers that cover large numbers of customers with more-costly health problems from having to raise their premiums for the next four years” and “much like an Affordable Care Act provision known as risk corridors that drew Republican fire.”
Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL) — who led the fight to restrict risk corridor funds during the Obama administration — partially defended the fund’s inclusion in the Senate GOP’s bill by saying it’s simply intended to help insurers during the transition away from Obamacare.
“The stabilization fund is a transitionary fund,” Rubio said earlier this week. “I need to see how it’s funded, where the money’s coming from and how it’s being appropriated. But I need to learn more about it. I do have some concern, no doubt.”
But Sen. Michael Bennet (D-CO) slammed the GOP’s inclusion of the fund in the bill, and told Bloomberg that it was emblematic of the party’s hypocrisy.
“That’s one of the things about this debate that’s so infuriating — the things that they blame on Obamacare are actually, in this case, things that opponents of Obamacare passed,” he said.