There's a saying that "nothing is more admirable in politics than a short memory." But we are amazed by the audacity of the latest attack by Republican leaders on the Affordable Care Act.
The target of Republicans' new criticism is a sensible mechanism to ensure an even distribution of risks across insurance companies. According to Republican leaders like House Budget Chairman Chairman
What's most remarkable about their comments on risk corridors is that Republican leaders are denouncing a model they created to smooth out rate increases in prescription drug coverage under
An innovative part of the law McConnell and Boehner voted for was its "risk corridors" program, a new idea back in 2003. The corridors are a mechanism to distribute or balance risks across insurance companies, so that those that sign up healthier enrollees help those that attract sicker enrollees. Under the program, if insurers' actual costs for medical claims are more than 3 percent below their expected costs, they will transmit a portion of their profits into the federal Treasury. Those funds will then be redistributed to insurers whose actual costs exceed their expected costs by more than 3 percent. The provisions were included in
At the time, Sen.
When congressional Democrats wrote the Affordable Care Act, we included the exact same mechanism, except we made the risk corridors a temporary three-year program to create stability during the startup period. We also made the program less generous, with higher thresholds for risk-sharing than the Republicans included in Part D.
Given this history, and the fact that our risk corridor program is more conservative than the Part D version in both eligibility and duration, the new
In fact, this week, the nonpartisan
Of course, attacks on the Affordable Care Act with no basis in fact are nothing new. From claiming that the law created "death panels" to insisting that the law is a government takeover of health care to arguing that the law would result in people being jailed for failing to purchase insurance, Republicans have continuously attacked the bill by spreading outright falsehoods.
We cannot stop Republicans from making disingenuous or dishonest attacks on the Affordable Care Act. Indeed, this seems to be their primary strategy for the 2014 midterm elections. But we can blow the whistle on hypocrisy.
That's why we are calling the risk corridors the "McConnell-Boehner provision." The Republican leaders in the
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