Media Blog

What We Learned From Yesterday’s Obamacare Hearing

The New York Times is pretty happy about the testimony of  insurance company executives on Obamacare:

Called by Republicans, Health Insurers Deliver Unexpected Testimony​

House Republicans summoned a half-dozen health insurance executives to a hearing Wednesday envisioned as another forum for criticism of the Affordable Care Act. But insurers refused to go along with the plan, and surprised Republican critics of the law by undercutting some of their arguments against it.

Insurers, appearing before a panel of the Energy and Commerce Committee, testified that the law had not led to a government takeover of their industry, as some Republicans had predicted. Indeed, several insurers said their stock prices had increased in the last few years.

The executives also declined to endorse Republican predictions of a sharp increase in insurance premiums next year, saying they did not have enough data or experience to forecast prices. And they said they were already receiving federal subsidy payments intended to make insurance more affordable for low- and middle-income people.

What we learned: the insurance companies are receiving their subsidy payments. But how? We’ve been told that we don’t know the number of people who’ve paid. 

Ah. . .

Representative Bill Johnson, Republican of Ohio, asked the insurers, “Does the administration know who’s paid for their plan?”

Insurance executives said they did not know the answer. Insurers said that they were filing invoices with the government to obtain subsidy payments, but that the government did not yet have an automated financial management system to handle the claims. The government and insurers will reconcile their books at a later date.

The Times doesn’t see a potential problem with this “later date” reconciliation? The “unexpected testimony” is that the share price of insurance companies went up? The entire back-end of the system still isn’t functioning — that’s the real news. 

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