Healthcare

Supreme Court Rules For Insurers Screwed by Trump

JM Ashby
Written by JM Ashby

The Affordable Care Act (ACA) or "Obamacare" included a cost-sharing program that redistributed funds from a pool of insurers to those that cover a disproportionate number of sick patients with preexisting conditions. The idea was to not overly burden any individual insurance company while also keeping premiums lower for average Americans who hold their insurance policies.

Even though congressional Republicans have always taken the side of insurers on ideological grounds, they decried Obamacare's cost-sharing program as a "bailout" for insurance companies because they believed it was a politically potent line of attack in their fight to repeal Obamacare; not because they actually believed their own words.

Congressional Republicans fail to repeal Obamacare before losing control of the House of Representatives in 2018, but Trump didn't give up the fight.

Trump unilaterally ordered the federal government to end the cost-sharing program and that ultimately resulted in today's 8 to 1 Supreme Court ruling ordering the federal government to pay insurers up to $12 billion that they're owed because Trump broke the law.

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday ruled in favor of health insurers seeking $12 billion from the federal government under a program set up by the Obamacare law aimed at encouraging them to offer medical coverage to previously uninsured Americans. [...]

Moda Health Plan Inc and other insurers that sued to try to compel the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to make the payments have said the government was supposed to help them recover from early losses they suffered after the 2010 passage of the Affordable Care Act (ACA) under Democratic former President Barack Obama.

Other insurers involved in the case included Blue Cross and Blue Shield of North Carolina, Maine Community Health Options and Land of Lincoln Mutual Health Insurance Company.

I certainly don't take any pleasure in applauding a court ruling in favor of insurers who are among the worst corporations in the world, but the fact is Trump broke the law and nullified a crucial mechanism of Obamacare that reduced costs.

Trump didn't just screw insurance companies when he decided to break the law. He also screwed average people who saw their monthly premiums increase as a result of his decision to break the law. I personally have not been able to afford insurance for years because of the actions of Republicans who've attacked every aspect of the law designed to lower premiums from the cost-sharing program to the individual mandate.

The only justice who ruled in Trump's favor was Samuel Alito who used his dissent to call the cost-sharing program a "massive bailout for insurance companies" which just goes to show you that being a Supreme Court justice does not necessary mean you aren't a complete idiot.

  • muselet

    The ACA’s “risk corridors” were created to keep the entire health-insurance industry from foundering while premiums and expenditures equilibrated. It was an idea first proposed by Rs, back before their party decided policies and facts were irrelevant.

    The insurance companies participated in those risk corridors—and I can hardly believe I’m typing this—in good faith; their accountants and actuaries presumably convinced the executives the ACA represented a pretty good deal for the industry. The companies deserved to win this case.

    That Samuel Alito dissented in today’s decision doesn’t surprise me. What does surprise me is that he was the only one.

    Maybe Kevin Drum is right and the Supremes are getting sick of having to rule again and again in these increasingly-preposterous cases meant to overturn the ACA. I sure hope so.

    –alopecia