Todays word on the state of our state, our nation, and the world.
Pedro Rojas holds a sign directing people to an insurance company where they can sign up for the Affordable Care Act, also known as Obamacare, before the February 15th deadline on February 5, 2015 in Miami, Florida. (Photo: Joe Raedle/Getty Images)
Mark Tapscott 2:02 PM 10/16/2015
It’s an Obamacare story with every imaginable outrage — blatant conflicts of interest, millions of tax dollars going to political cronies, thousands of Americans left without health insurance, lavish pay for incompetent executives, federal funds diverted illegally, multiple congressional investigations, insider trading convictions and big decisions made behind closed doors.
Tragically, there is even a child abuser. But search the New York Times web site for “Obamacare co-ops” and nothing comes up. Just three entries appear for the same search on the Washington Post web site.
Not so, Richard Pollock of the Daily Caller News Foundation’s Investigative Group. Pollock has filed dozens of stories about the Obamacare co-ops since 23 of the tax-funded groups were created in 2011 at a cost of $2 billion. President Obama promised the co-ops would help lower medical costs by competing with profit-driven private companies.
Seven of the co-ops have closed. A recent report by the Department of Health and Human Services Inspector General said the rest of the co-ops are in deep financial trouble and more are expected to close.
None of these dismal developments come as a surprise to those following Pollock’s byline for the past four years. Here are a dozen of his most significant co-op stories, some of which were reported when he worked for the Washington Examiner.
· One third of Obamacare co-ops have failed.
· New York’s Obamacare co-op drew the most consumer complaints.
· Feds admit more Obamacare co-op failures are coming.
· Obamacare co-op execs hid millions in lavish pay, consulting fees.
· House panel says Obamacare co-op illegally diverted $25 million.
· ‘Luxurious’ funding lets Obamacare co-ops undercut commercial rivals.
· Obamacare co-ops mostly not ready for opening day.
· Four investigations of Obamacare co-ops.
· Obamacare’s Louisiana co-op riddled with self-dealing, conflicts of interest.
· Groups led by insider trader, child abuser got Obamacare co-op loans.
· Obama political ally got $340 million Obamacare co-op loan.
· Obamacare co-ops being formed behind closed doors.
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A man looks over the Affordable Care Act (commonly known as Obamacare) signup page on the HealthCare.gov website in New York in this Oct. 2, 2013 photo illustration. (REUTERS/Mike Segar)
One-third of the Obamacare health insurance co-ops have now failed, causing about 400,000 policyholders in 10 states to scramble for new coverage for 2016.
Seven of the 23 co-ops created by the Affordable Care Act in 2011 at a cost of $2.4 billion — including many launched by passionate but inexperienced health reform activists — have since closed their doors. An eighth, the Colorado Health Insurance Cooperative, appears on the brink of default as well.
The failing Obamacare co-ops have canceled health insurance for largely poor and low-income customers in Iowa, Nebraska, Kentucky, West Virginia, Louisiana, Nevada, Tennessee, Vermont, New York and Colorado.
The co-op’s are falling like dominoes. In the last two months, the public has seen co-ops fail in Nevada, Louisiana, Tennessee, Kentucky and New York.
Including Colorado, taxpayers have lost $876 million in loan money that was supposed to last for 15 years. The failed co-op’s existed for only two years before suddenly closing their doors.
More co-op failures are expected. “There will be more closures,” said American Enterprise Institute resident fellow Thomas Miller, a health care expert. “The only question is when rather than whether.”
The Center for Medicare and Medicaid Services, which funded the co-ops, said this summer that six co-ops were under “enhanced oversight” because of poor financial reports. The Daily Caller reported in August that federal officials refused to identify the six that are in trouble.
The Inspector General of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services reported in July that 21 of 23 operating co-ops faced staggering losses, some greater than the loans that were expected to last 15 years.
New York’s Health Republic, the largest of the co-ops, announced it was closing its doors last month, leaving 155,000 customers in the lurch.
The New York failure was not only the largest, but was the flagship of the co-op movement. It was created by liberal political activist Sarah Horowitz, who had previously worked with then-state Sen. Barack Obama.
The New York Department of Finance Services last month reported that Health Republic had the worst 2014 consumer record of all insurance companies operating in the state.
Horowitz was the only individual to be given federal loans to run three co-ops at the same time. Her other two co-ops are in New Jersey and Oregon.
Miller said there is growing apprehension among state insurance commissioners about the solvency of many of the other co-ops still hanging on.
Nov. 1 is the new date for open enrollment for the co-ops. The deadline is forcing state insurance commissioners to take a closer look at the co-op’s prospects over the next year.
Miller said many state commissioners are asking, “do you cut your losses now or do it later? There’s a lot of apprehension among state regulators in terms of signing up for another year in light of results that have happened.”
Sally Pipes, president of the Pacific Research Institute think tank, said, “everything is coming to pass. It was inevitable, given their inexperience.”
Kelly Crowe, CEO of the trade association that represents all of the co-ops has now turned against the Obama administration, which set up the programs.
She blamed “regulatory obstacles,” and said Obamacare — is “not working.”
Content created by The Daily Caller News Foundation is available without charge to any eligible news publisher that can provide a large audience. For licensing opportunities of our original content, please contact licensing.