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Poll: Public opposed to Obama proposed bailout of insurers

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Whether you call it a bribe, as Howard Portnoy did earlier this week, or a bailout, as Investors Business Daily did in a survey, Americans are opposed to a White House scheme to get insurers to help them clean up their mess through infusions of your cash.

From a summary by IBD’s John Merline:

The survey found that 65% oppose a federal bailout of insurance companies that find their profits hit because not enough young, healthy people sign up for ObamaCare plans.

Opposition is widespread, the poll of 907 adults found, with 51% of Democrats, 71% of Republicans and 76% of independents against it. It's opposed by every age and demographic group as well.

[Graph of poll results]

Although few people knew about it until recently, the health law contains a three-year ‘risk corridor program’ designed to bail out insurers if costs were higher than anticipated from too few young people enrolled.

The administration planned on 2.7 million young enrolling in the first year. Early data show that relatively few are doing so. And a Harvard University survey found less than a third of young uninsured say they plan to buy an ObamaCare exchange plan.

But the chances of an industry bailout sharply increased after President Obama said he'd make it possible for individuals to keep their current plans another year, a proposal he made after millions got cancellation notices.

The article goes on to note that an Obamacare bailout could reach half a billion dollars in the first year, according to some observers.

In a letter to state insurance commissioners, Gary Cohen, Director of the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight, an arm of HHS, wrote that "the risk corridor program should help ameliorate unanticipated changes in premium revenue." The translation is that any costs incurred by insurers who enact Obama's "fix" will be covered by taxpayers.

Notes Merline:

On Monday, HHS proposed changes that would open the bailout spigot even more. Among other things, it proposes to loosen the rules to be eligible for any ‘risk corridor’ money. It also wants to lower the threshold before a company can get federal ‘reinsurance’ payments. Previously, a company would have to spend at least $60,000 on an individual before the government would kick in. They want to drop that to $45,000.

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