A House committee is investigating whether the Obama administration is seeking to compensate insurers for Obamacare losses indirectly, by settling lawsuits with them.
Republican leaders on the House Energy and Commerce Committee wrote to six insurers Tuesday, asking them to provide any documents or communications between them and the administration that might shed light on settlement discussions.
The insurers are suing the administration for not giving them the funding they requested through the Affordable Care Act's risk corridor program, which aims to compensate insurers with the largest losses from new enrollees. There's insufficient funding for the payments, which are supposed to come from profitable insurers, but too many companies failed to make a profit under the system to fund the system.
In addition, Congress has blocked the Department of Health and Human Services from using other funding sources to meet insurers' funding requests.
The administration suggested last month that it could provide the funds through settling with the insurers, sparking a backlash from House Republicans who say it doesn't have the authority to do so.
The committee requested documents from Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina, First Priority Life Insurance, Health Republic Insurance Company, Land of Lincoln Health, Maine Community Health Options and Moda Health Plan, along with the Blue Cross Blue Shield Association and America's Health Insurance Plans.
"The committee is concerned that, in connection with CMS's solicitation of settlement offers, the administration may be considering using the permanent appropriation for judgments ("Judgment Fund") to pay any settlement agreements, even though Congress has acted — twice – to expressly prohibit the expenditure of taxpayer dollars on this program," wrote Chairman Fred Upton and Reps. Tim Murphy and Joe Pitts.
The leaders asked the insurers to provide the information requested by Oct. 17.