Insurance Bailouts and Revolving Doors

How many times over the past several years have we heard how evil insurance companies are? How they try to screw innocent, hard working people out of coverage in order to make a quick buck? And who was it that told us this was the case? Wasn’t it the very president who now wants to bail them out?

United Healthcare, the nation’s largest insurer, last week announced it was suffering huge losses in the exchanges. “We cannot sustain these losses” UHC’s CEO said in a conference call, saying conditions for the insurer were “worsening.” The company forecast $700 million in losses on the exchanges. Fellow insurance giant Aetna also said it expected to lose money on the exchanges, and other insurers said enrollment was lower than they expected.

Hours after UHC’s dire announcement, the Obama administration issued an interesting statement of its own — that it would find a way to get insurers the bailout money congressional Republicans had voted to deny them.

This in and of itself is pure hypocrisy, as the very people who condemned the Republicans for their slavish devotion to Wall Street corporations are now vowing to go around the law that was enacted with the help of presidential contender [mc_name name=’Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL)’ chamber=’senate’ mcid=’R000595′ ]. They consider Obamacare, as my colleague Streiff noted, too big to fail.

ObamaCare was nothing more than crony capitalism, a program designed to reward major Democrat contributors and donors to progressive causes in Pharma and the healthcare sector. Its business plan was to make people buy a product they did not need or want with money that they did not have. The government, in exchange for feeling good about itself, was supposed to act as a marketing agency and provide a slush fund to cover losses.

If you need any more proof that it was little more than crony capitalism, consider this, from the Washington Examiner story linked earlier:

In response, the Obamacare insiders — the wealthy and powerful operatives who alternate between top government jobs and top industry jobs — are hustling to find more bailout money for insurers. Republicans, if they are able to hold their ground in the face of lobbyist pressure, can block the bailout of Obamacare and its corporate clientele.

[…]

Slavitt’s appointment and management of bailout money for UHC clearly clashes with Obama’s much ballyhooed ethics rules, which require appointees to swear: “I will not for a period of 2 years from the date of my appointment participate in any particular matter involving specific parties that is directly and substantially related to my former employer…” In acknowledgement of this conflict of interest, Obama issued an ethics waiver for Slavitt.

Meanwhile, the insurance lobbyist leading the industry’s push for more Obamacare bailout money is Marilyn Tavenner, Obama’sprevious chief of CMS, now head of America’s Health Insurance Plans. AHIP says risk corridors aren’t the group’s top focus, but Tavenner is speaking out on it.

In summary: Tavenner helped build the risk corridor program, and then went to the industry that would get the money. Slavitt left the insurer with the biggest losses, and now is the government official promising to bail out his former employer.

This revolving door from government employee to insurance lobbyist to government employee again is a clear indicator that this was never anything more than an avenue to build up power and money. As Obamacare continues failing – with more and more state exchanges dropping like flies – and the threat of money to the corporate interests behind the law drying up continuing, we see the supporters for who they truly are: crony capitalists who hide behind the banner of equality for all.

This has been a failure from start to finish, and it is imperative that the GOP hold the line and renew the provision that prevents the government from using other funds to bail out big businesses.