I wish this headline was more surprising but these days it’s probably just another brick in a very large wall. The Daily Caller has been peeking under the covers of the Obamacare system of co-ops across the country in the wake of several of them going under recently, including outfits in Tennessee and Nevada. It turns out that, unbeknownst to both the public and Congress, nearly a dozen other co-ops have been placed on a special watch list because their future is highly uncertain and they may be at risk of folding as well. So how did nobody know about this? (Daily Caller)
Federal officials have a secret list of 11 Obamacare health insurance co-ops they fear are on the verge of failure, but they refuse to disclose them to the public or to Congress, a Daily Caller News Foundation investigation has learned…
The 11 unidentified co-ops appear to be still operating but are now on “enhanced oversight” by the federal Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, which manages the Obamacare program. The 11 received letters from CMS demanding that they take urgent actions to avoid closing.
Aaron Albright, chief CMS spokesman, said 11 co-ops “are either on a corrective action plan or enhanced oversight. We have not released the letters or names.” He gave no grounds for withholding the information from either the public or Congress.
So the bottom line is that there were two dozen of these co-ops set up originally as Obamacare became the law of the land and began casting its net across the country. In the past year, nine of them already announced that they were closing, located in Colorado, Iowa, Kentucky, Louisiana, Nebraska, New York, Nevada, Tennessee, Vermont and West Virginia. In a worst case scenario, if all eleven of the co-ops on this secret list go under… well, I’m no math major but that sounds like a pretty high percentage of 24 to me.
The real world effects of this go far beyond the political optics of a failed policy. Uncle Sam has issued a mandate that everyone must have a policy and millions of Americans signed up through these co-ops. When the original eleven finish folding all of their customers will have to go somewhere or face the wrath of the government. (If you like your doctor you might be able to keep your doctor, but he’s still going to want to know who your insurance is through.) So all of these newly uninsured clients will be signing on to one of the other programs, many of which are already struggling to keep their heads above water because – surprise – many of the newly insured were sicker than expected and suddenly started using their benefits. Who could have possibly seen that coming?
Perhaps even more to the point is the fact that the names of these eleven co-ops are being kept secret. A lack of transparency is bad enough in and of itself, but don’t the people signing up for policies through them deserve to know that they might not be around next year? Allowing people to begin paying into those systems only to potentially have the rug pulled out from under them next spring seems like a rather shoddy trick.
All this says nothing of the massive amount of taxpayer money which was flushed into the co-ops to begin with. Guess what happens to that?
All 24 received 15-year loans in varying amounts to offer health insurance to poor and low income customers and provide publicly funded competition to private, for-profit insurers…
Nearly half a million failing co-op customers will have to find new coverage in 2016. More than $900 million of the original $2 billion in loans has been lost.
A billion here… a billion there. Pretty soon you’re talking about real money.