Sen. Marco Rubio on Tuesday criticized President Trump’s budget proposal for including about $800 million in payments to Obamacare insurers.
The Florida Republican tweeted that programs such as the Coast Guard and Border Patrol were slated for automatic cuts under sequestration, while the budget would spend $812 million in fiscal 2019 on risk corridor payments for insurers.
“It's unacceptable that programs that matter to #Florida could see cuts while the gov’t continues to bail out private insurers to protect them from consequences of Obamacare,” he tweeted Tuesday.
Rubio added he has been fighting for years to “ensure we do not bail out Obamacare, but @POTUS budget includes $ for the Obamacare risk corridors.”
I’ve been fighting for years to ensure we do not bail out #Obamacare,but @POTUS budget includes $ for the Obamacare risk corridors & would protect the program from automatic cuts.Why should #Obamacare Insurer Bailout program be protected & not important programs for #Florida? 1/3— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) February 13, 2018
Some programs in #Florida are subject to sequester cuts: (2/3)FEMA Disaster Relief Fund NASANIH cancer research grantsFirefighter grantsNIH Alzheimer’s research grantsVETS job-training program Border PatrolCoast Guard National Park ServiceSpecial Education Grants— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) February 13, 2018
It's unacceptable that programs that matter to #Florida could see cuts while the gov’t continues to bail out private insurers to protect them from consequences of #Obamacare. (3/3)— Senator Rubio Press (@SenRubioPress) February 13, 2018
The risk corridors were created in 2014 when the law’s insurance marketplaces went online. The corridor program expired in 2016, as it was meant to help insurers adjust to a new marketplace created under Obamacare.
Under risk corridors, insurers that profited pay into a program that in turn pays insurers with heavy losses. However, the program ran up massive losses because too many insurers requested payments and not enough insurers paid into the program.
Another key issue is that the Republican-controlled Congress inserted an amendment to a spending bill that forced the risk corridor program to be budget neutral. It could pay out only the money it took in.
Obamacare insurers largely didn’t expect the enrollee population to be as sick as it was, which led to most of them posting losses.
The budget also calls for Congress to allocate money for cost-sharing reduction payments, which reimburse Obamacare insurers for lowering out-of-pocket costs for low-income enrollees. President Trump cut off the payments in October, and congressional efforts to fund them have failed.
Some lawmakers are pushing to add a measure that would fund the payments for two years as part of a long-term spending bill that is scheduled to be considered in March.