Obamacareby Senator Mitch McConnell
Posted on 2015-10-21
McCONNELL. Mr. President, barely a week goes by that we don't see
another harmful consequence of ObamaCare, a poorly conceived and badly
executed law. It has caused costs to millions of Americans. It has
harmed the quality and availability of care. Now comes further evidence
that ObamaCare is a mess of a law, filled with broken promises.
We recently learned the Kentucky Health Cooperative, a nonprofit health insurer created by ObamaCare with Federal taxpayer funds, will cease operations and stop offering health care plans at the end of the year. For the second time in as little as 3 years, as many as 51,000 Kentuckians will lose the health care coverage they currently have and will be forced to choose a new plan--all thanks to ObamaCare. This Kentucky co-op was a boondoggle from the start. It received nearly $150 million in Federal loans, including a solvency loan this past November in a failed taxpayer bailout to try to keep it afloat. It had the largest recorded loss of all 23 co-ops in our whole country. The Kentucky co-op had the biggest loss of any co-op in the whole country-- more than $50 million in 2014.
Things were hardly much better for the Kentuckians who actually enrolled in it. Over the past 2 years, the co-op saw double-digit premium increases on the individual market. If it had survived, it was planning on increasing premiums for its members by 25 percent in 2016. If this contraption had survived into next year, it was going to increase premiums by 25 percent.
Here is what the Kentucky co-op's CEO said about this particular government-subsidized health care plan: ``In the plainest language, things have come up short of where they need to be.'' That is for sure. If only we would have that kind of honesty from the Obama administration on the many failures of ObamaCare. The collapse of the Kentucky co-op is emblematic of the situation across the land. The Obama administration claimed their government-subsidized co-ops would provide affordable and sustainable alternatives to private insurance. The truth is anything but that. What is even more disappointing is that the Obama administration itself predicted a nearly 40-percent default rate on its taxpayer loans to co-ops.
Now, 21 of 23 co-ops nationwide were losing money as of the end of last year. Enrollment in these co-ops fell below projections for the majority of plans. Kentucky's neighbor to the south, Tennessee, will shut down its co-op, leaving approximately 27,000 enrollees looking for new coverage at the end of the year. In Colorado, the State's biggest health insurer on their exchange--a nonprofit co-op--also announced its closure this month, forcing 83,000 Coloradans to find new insurance for next year. The same is true in Iowa, Nebraska, Nevada, Oregon, and Louisiana. From the bayous of Louisiana to the Pacific Northwest, from the Big Apple to the Great Plains and the Rocky Mountains, ObamaCare co-ops are failing all over America. In all, one-third of the 23 ObamaCare health co-ops have failed, leaving about 400,000 policyholders nationwide looking for new coverage for 2016.
These failures of ObamaCare health co-ops come as absolutely no surprise to those of us who predicted that giving the government more control of our health care system would be detrimental to the health care coverage people rely on. I said so on the Senate floor as far back as 2009.
The administration knew beforehand that this plan was not viable and that tens of thousands of people could lose their coverage. They chose to cling fast to a disastrous leftwing experiment with our health care system over choosing stability and affordable coverage for the many people caught up in ObamaCare and these failed health co-ops. What a colossal mess.
I yield the floor.
The PRESIDING OFFICER. The Senator from Wyoming.