Little-Known Rubio Move Threatens ObamaCare

Welcome to the wonky world of 'risk corridors'
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 10, 2015 1:24 PM CST
Little-Known Rubio Move Threatens ObamaCare
Sen. Marco Rubio holds a town hall meeting at the Laconia VFW in Laconia, N.H., Monday, Nov. 30, 2015.   (AP Photo/Cheryl Senter)

Sure, lots of Republicans talk a good game about the need to torpedo ObamaCare, but Robert Pear at the New York Times explains that Marco Rubio is the only one to have actually made progress on the pledge—thanks to a relatively obscure amendment in last year's spending law. It involves the wonky issue of "risk corridors," set up by the government to shield insurance companies from big ObamaCare losses. Rubio's amendment sharply limits how much the federal government can spend to defray such losses, and the shortfall from what was initially promised already has caused insurers around the country to shut down. It demonstrates "the effectiveness of quiet legislative sabotage," writes Pear. Rubio portrays the matter as yet government bailout, and he's working to continue the restrictions or perhaps eliminate the funding altogether in the new spending bill now under negotiation.

If these risk corridors are so important, why has the issue gotten relatively scant attention? Don't blame Rubio, writes David Weigel at the Washington Post. He's been boasting about saving taxpayers money on the matter every chance he gets. It's partly because politicians and reporters alike failed to recognize the impact. Also, "the press corps that covers politics is not always equally concerned with explaining policy," especially with Donald Trump dominating the news cycles. The issue is finally getting attention now, though. "At the moment, Democrats are giddy about Trump's ability to dominate the Republican conversation," writes Weigel. But, he adds, they'll need to turn their attention to risk corridors quickly, along with Rubio's efforts to link them to the word "bailout." (More Marco Rubio stories.)

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