Thom Hartmann: How Republicans Quietly Sabotaged Obamacare Long Before Trump Came into Office

Mar 26, 2017

Billions that should go to Obamacare are missing, thanks to senators like Marco Rubio.

Donald Trump suggested that the Affordable Care Act was a clever ruse by our first black president and his Democratic friends to have a successful health-care system in place for his own presidency, but was set up to fail in the first year of the next president’s term.

Trump said (on 3/10/2017) that this year “would be a disaster for Obamacare. That’s the year it was meant to explode, because Obama won’t be here. That’s when it was supposed to be, get even worse. As bad as it is now, it’ll get even worse.”

While most people are rolling their eyes (why would President Obama do that, particularly when everybody expected the next president to be Hillary?), there’s actually a substantial grain of truth to Trump’s assertion. However, he has identified the wrong culprit as the person who poison-pilled Obamacare for 2017. That distinction would go to Marco Rubio (and his Republican helpers in the Senate).

Let’s step back to 2015 for the entire story, which is bizarre and fascinating.

When the ACA was rolled out, telling insurance companies that they had to insure anybody who signed up regardless of previous conditions or sickness, everybody realized that the insurance companies would probably lose money in the first decade or so, until previously uninsured but sick people got into the system, got better and things evened out.

To get the insurance companies to go along with this risk of losing money, the ACA promised to make them whole for any losses in the first decade. At the end of each fiscal year, the insurance companies merely had to document their losses and the government would reimburse them out of ACA funds provided for by the law.

The possibility of their losing money was referred to as the “risk corridor,” and the ACA explicitly filled those risk corridors with a guarantee of making the insurance companies, at the very least, whole.

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