Supreme Court Puts Government On the Hook for $12 Billion in Obamacare Payments

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The Supreme Court on Monday ruled that the federal government is on the hook for billions in payments to health insurers who sold coverage on the Affordable Care Act exchanges.

The eight to one decision clears the way for insurers to collect upwards of $12 billion via an Obamacare program designed to help insurers manage risks they took by participating in ACA exchanges. Congress has refused to appropriate federal money for the program since 2014, leaving insurers in the lurch.

The decision is a blow to congressional Republicans and the Trump administration, who say the program is little more than a bailout for insurance companies who made hazardous business decisions. Unable to repeal the law in full, Republicans have attacked the ACA in piecemeal fashion, withholding the risk payments in Monday’s case and canceling payments to health insurers that subsidize care for low-income clients. Monday’s decision marks another failed Republican attempt to undermine the health care law.

At issue in the case is the so-called risk corridor program. The insurers who joined the ACA exchanges faced uncertainty immediately after the health care law passed and extended coverage to millions of previously uninsured and people with preexisting conditions. The risk corridors set up a system for sharing profits and losses: Companies who finished ahead would pay a portion of their profits to the government while insurers who finished behind could collect payments from the government to offset losses. – READ MORE

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