The Corner

Continuing the Argument on Insurer Bailouts

Earlier this week, I argued that congressional Republicans should do what they can to stop the administration from bailing out insurers which are participating in Obamacare’s exchanges. I have a follow-up today, in which I respond to the objections of some conservatives (and also to David Weigel, a reporter at Slate). An excerpt:

Start with the Wall Street Journal. It has editorialized that capping the subsidies to insurers would raise premiums for exchange policies and therefore also raise the cost of taxpayer subsidies for the people buying them: “The ‘insurer bailout’ is a good political line but the problem is the law itself.” Maybe the way to think about this issue is by asking a hypothetical question: If Obamacare as written did not allow taxpayer subsidies to cover participating insurers’ losses, would the Journal now favor creating them in order to keep premiums lower? Or would it regard such subsidies as a bailout designed to prop up a bad law and resist it accordingly? I think we know the answer to that question.

Ramesh Ponnuru is a senior editor for National Review, a columnist for Bloomberg Opinion, a visiting fellow at the American Enterprise Institute, and a senior fellow at the National Review Institute.