Congress Must Stop the Flow of Corporate Welfare to Insurers

This could be a very merry Christmas for Blue Cross and Blue Shield (BCBS) of Texas.  The Obama administration wants to stuff its stocking with $257,172,917.34 – at your expense – to compensate the company for losing scads of money last year selling Obamacare policies in the Lone Star State.

That would bring that single company’s total corporate welfare haul for the 2014 plan year to $843.3 million.

That is, unless Congress decides this week to play the Grinch that stole the corporate welfare Christmas.

Everyone knows Obamacare subsidizes low-income individuals, but few are aware it also subsidizes big insurance companies. Corporate welfare payments to insurers under the risk corridor and reinsurance programs (both of which are slated to expire in 2017) amounted to $10.4 billion for the 2014 benefit year. That’s less than the $18.5 billion Washington spent on premium and cost-sharing subsidies for low-income people, but hardly chump change.

The administration already has distributed nearly $8 billion in payments to insurance companies, but Congress has so far blocked it from spending the remaining $2.5 billion.

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