Obamacare Insurers Looking for Taxpayer Bailout…

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Insurers helped cheerlead the creation of Obamacare, with plenty of encouragement – and pressure – from Democrats and the Obama administration. As long as the Affordable Care Act included an individual mandate that forced Americans to buy its product, insurers offered political cover for the government takeover of the individual-plan marketplaces. With the prospect of tens of millions of new customers forced into the market for comprehensive health-insurance plans, whether they needed that coverage or not, underwriters saw potential for a massive windfall of profits.

Six years later, those dreams have failed to materialize. Now some insurers want taxpayers to provide them the profits to which they feel entitled — not through superior products and services, but through lawsuits.

Related: Get Ready for Huge Obamacare Premium Hikes in 2017

Earlier this month, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina joined a growing list of insurers suing the Department of Health and Human Services for more subsidies from the risk-corridor program. Congress set up the program to indemnify insurers who took losses in the first three years of Obamacare with funds generated from taxes on “excess profits” from some insurers. The point of the program was to allow insurers to use the first few years to grasp the utilization cycle and to scale premiums accordingly.

As with most of the ACA’s plans, this soon went awry. Utilization rates went off the charts, in large part because younger and healthier consumers balked at buying comprehensive coverage with deductibles so high as to guarantee that they would see no benefit from them. The predicted large windfall from “excess profit” taxes never materialized, but the losses requiring indemnification went far beyond expectations.

In response, HHS started shifting funds appropriated by Congress to the risk-corridor program, which would have resulted in an almost-unlimited bailout of the insurers. Senator Marco Rubio led a fight in Congress to bar use of any appropriated funds for risk-corridor subsidies, which the White House was forced to accept as part of a budget deal. As a result, HHS can only divvy up the revenues from taxes received through the ACA, and that leaves insurers holding the bag.

Related: Obamacare: Costs Go Up, Insurers Drop Out and Consumers Get Screwed

They now are suing HHS to recoup the promised subsidies, but HHS has its hands tied, and courts are highly unlikely to have authority to force Congress to appropriate more funds. In fact, the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services formally responded by telling insurers that they have no requirement to offer payment until the fall of 2017, at the end of the risk-corridor program.

That response highlights the existential issue for both insurers and Obamacare. The volatility and risk was supposed to have receded by now. After three full years of utilization and risk-pool management, ACA advocates insisted that the markets would stabilize, and premiums would come under control. Instead, premiums look set for another round of big hikes for the fourth year of the program.

Consumers seeking to comply with the individual mandate will see premiums increase on some plans from large insurers by as much as 30 percent in Oregon, 32 percent in New Mexico, 38 percent in Pennsylvania, and 65 percent in Georgia.

Thus far, insurers still claim to have confidence in the ACA model – at least, those who have not pulled out of their markets altogether. However, massive annual premium increases four years into the program demonstrate the instability and unpredictability of the Obamacare model, and a new study from Mercatus explains why.

Related: Obamacare: Costs Go Up, Insurers Drop Out and Consumers Get Screwed

The claims costs for qualified health plans (QHPs) within the Obamacare markets far outstripped those from non-QHP individual plan customers grandfathered on their existing plans – by 93 percent. They also outstripped costs in group QHP plans by 24 percent. In order to break even without reinsurance subsidies (separate from the risk-corridor indemnification funds), premiums would need to have been 31 percent higher on average for individual QHPs.

The main problem was that younger and healthier people opted out of the markets, skewing the risk pools toward consumers with much higher utilization rates – as Obamacare opponents predicted all along. With another round of sky-high premium increases coming, that problem will only get worse, the study predicts.

“[H]igher premiums will further reduce the attractiveness of individual QHPs to younger and healthier enrollees, resulting in a market that will appeal primarily to lower-income individuals who receive large subsidies and to people with expensive health conditions,” it concludes. “To avoid such an outcome, it is increasingly likely that the individual insurance market changes made by the ACA will have to be revised or reversed.”

Related: It’s Time to Blame Obamacare for Losing So Many Full-Time Jobs

Galen Institute senior fellow Doug Badger, one of the study’s co-authors, wonders how long insurers will continue to publicly support Obamacare. In an interview with me this week, Badger noted how critical that political cover is for the White House, but predicted it won’t last – because the system itself is unsustainable, and no one knows this more than the insurers themselves, even if they remain reluctant to voice that conclusion. Until they speak up, however, the Obama administration can keep up their happy talk while insurers quietly exit these markets, an act that should be speaking volumes all on its own.

Even the Kaiser Foundation, which has supported Obamacare, has admitted that the flood of red ink has become a major issue. “I don’t know if we’re at a point where it’s completely worrisome,” spokesperson Cynthia Cox told NPR, “but I think it does raise some red flags in pointing out that insurance companies need to be able to make a profit or at least cover their costs.”

Red flags have flown all over the Obamacare model for six years. Instead of suing the federal government for losses created by a system for which they bear more than a little responsibility, insurers should finally admit out loud that the ACA is anythingbut affordable – not for insurers, and certainly not for consumers or taxpayers. When that finally happens, we can then start working on a viable solution based on reality rather than fealty to a failed central-planning policy.

WATCH: Debunking the Myth of ‘Democratic’ Socialism

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UPDATE 06/08/2016: I’ve received thousands of emails about the situation below. The following video was entirely removed from Youtube based on a BS “copyright” claim from an angry liberal at Mashable who didn’t like the fact that he was roundly criticized. My personal youtube account was punished with a manual copyright strike, and business privileges like live-streaming were removed from my account which had always been in good standing. It required a lawyer, a counter-claim and a whoooole lot of truth-telling, but the BS was dismissed and the video has now officially been reinstated. It’s horrible that this is such a common tactic from the left, and it’s horrible that mere truth-telling has to be defended, but we did, and we won. Thanks for the support!

Here’s how you know people generally disfavor socialism. Proponents of socialism take a parent to child approach by wrapping a distasteful thing (socialism) inside something seen as more palatable (democracy). Voila, cheese covered broccoli. Except Democratic Socialism is still socialism, with all the trappings and pitfalls of a miserable population, a crap economy, and a huge gap between rich and poor. Also, spoiler alert: the USA is a REPUBLIC. Stop saying we’re a democracy already. I explain in detail below.

Democratic socialism, nationalistic socialism, or just socialism-socialism eventually lead to one thing: misery. Here, I’ll put it in simpler terms for you…

Word+Socialism= Socialism.

More math for you….

Socialism + Anything = Bad idea that’s never worked, will never work, can never work. So stop it.

Socialism seeks to make everyone equally poor, equally dependent, equally terrible. Because success isn’t fair. Rich isn’t fair. Well, except for those cronies up at the top who fooled you into buying their ketchup covered broccoli and telling you it was nutrition.

jeremy clarkson

Yet here we are. We have an openly socialist running for president. Face the facts here. Bernie Sanders rhetoric (nay, most of the Democrat Party) is indistinguishable from Lenin. Socialism is a bad idea. It’s made for the lazy who just would rather not work, but thanks. It’s made for whiners. It’s made for fools. Just don’t be one, you’re going to make the rest of us pay for it. And not just in a metaphorical sense…

Read more: http://louderwithcrowder.com/watch-debunking-the-myth-of-democratic-socialism/#ixzz4B0Uwhp96
Follow us: @scrowder on Twitter | stevencrowderofficial on Facebook

 

Obama’s disappearing financial disclosure reports…

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Obama Admin Deletes Conflict Of Interest Disclosures For Top Bureaucrats [VIDEO]

BY LUKE ROSIAK

Conflict of interest disclosure reports filed by top federal officials were removed from public view by the Obama administration in recent months, a move that government transparency and accountability advocates condemn as a major setback.

The Office of Government Ethics (OGE) reports are the primary tool that watchdog journalists, political activists and interested voters can use to guard against presidential appointees using their positions to enrich themselves or others.

For years, the OGE website featured a sortable, searchable list of over 1,000 government appointees, including their names, agencies and titles, and flagging new ones. By clicking on a name, users could easily access multiple disclosures for the appointee, including yearly financial accounting, stock ownership and a letter detailing any agreements surrounding conflicts, such as issues when the individual promises to recuse himself.

By January, the list was inexplicably removed, leaving only a search box. That action severely reduced the chance of officials’ finances being scrutinized because it became necessary to know the name of a person and have a reason to want to look up that individual, as opposed to, for example, looking for listings from an agency of interest.

Now, even that capability is gone, along with almost all references to actually seeing the disclosures. Thousands of PDFs have also been deleted, leaving dead links.

OGE referred press calls to Seth Jaffe, who didn’t respond to The Daily Caller News Foundation’s query placed on Monday.

“This is a problem,” Daniel Schuman, a policy analyst at the liberal group Demand Progress, told TheDCNF. “They should put it back. It’s very odd there’s no explanation.”

John Wonderlich, head of the transparency group the Sunlight Foundation, called it a “big step backward,” saying “the administration should be demonstrating how digital disclosure should strengthen our accountability systems, and creating barriers to access is the opposite of progress.”

Previously, Sunlight had praised President Barack Obama, who had pledged at the outset of his first term in the Oval Office to have the “most transparent [administration] in history.”

The OGE documents also include “ethics waivers,” documents that showed despite Obama making pledges such as not to appoint former lobbyists, this was frequently done.

Thanks to the disclosures, the public recently learned that Secretary of State John Kerry has millions invested in offshore tax havens. The disclosures also showed that Medicare chief Andy Slavitt took actions relating to firms he had financial ties to, and that he got a waiver to do so.

OGE’s role as an independent entity is important in serving as a check against self-interested departments. The disclosures showed that the Medicare agency lied about Slavitt getting preferential tax treatment.

They also showed a former union lawyer who was appointed to head a labor relations agency steered lucrative contracts to his old law firm despite signing an agreement saying he “will not participate personally and substantially in any particular matter involving specific parties in which Bredhoff & Kaiser is a party or represents a party unless I am first authorized.”

The site’s menu now says nothing about viewing disclosures, but buried several clicks in to a section called “Media” allows you to fill out a form requiring highly specific information about a person and the disclosure you are requesting.

When TheDCNF called to inquire about the change, the form had to be sent in via snail mail. Soon after the call, they added a cumbersome online form that was submitted to an employee who supposedly would send the documents several days later.

TheDCNF filled out the form and several days later, got rejected without explanation.

“The records that you requested are not maintained in the Office of Government Ethics. Please contact the employing agency/agencies for these records,” Irene Houston wrote.

Read more: http://dailycaller.com/2016/05/25/obamas-admin-deletes-conflict-of-interest-disclosures-for-top-bureaucrats/#ixzz49nMRhnaZ

 

OBAMACARE BLEEDING OUT: Insurers warn losses unsustainable…

By Peter Sullivan

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Health insurance companies are amplifying their warnings about the financial sustainability of the ObamaCare marketplaces as they seek approval for premium increases next year.

Insurers say they are losing money on their ObamaCare plans at a rapid rate, and some have begun to talk about dropping out of the marketplaces altogether.

“Something has to give,” said Larry Levitt, an expert on the health law at the Kaiser Family Foundation. “Either insurers will drop out or insurers will raise premiums.”

While analysts expect the market to stabilize once premiums rise and more young, healthy people sign up, some observers have not ruled out the possibility of a collapse of the market, known in insurance parlance as a “death spiral.”

In the short term, there is a growing likelihood that insurers will push for substantial premium increases, creating a political problem for Democrats in an election year.

Insurers have been pounding the drum about problems with ObamaCare pricing.

The Blue Cross Blue Shield Association released a widely publicized report last month that said new enrollees under ObamaCare had 22 percent higher medical costs than people who received coverage from employers.

And a report from McKinsey & Company found that in the individual market, which includes the ObamaCare marketplaces, insurers lost money in 41 states in 2014, and were only profitable in 9 states.

“We continue to have serious concerns about the sustainability of the public exchanges,” Mark Bertolini, the CEO of Aetna, said in February.

The Aetna CEO noted concerns about the “risk pool,” which refers to the balance of healthy and sick enrollees in a plan. The makeup of the ObamaCare risk pools has been sicker and costlier than insurers hoped.

The clearest remedy for the losses is for insurers to raise premiums, perhaps by large amounts — something Republicans have long warned would happen under the healthcare law, known as the Affordable Care Act (ACA).

“The industry is clearly setting the stage for bigger premium increases in 2017,” said Levitt of the Kaiser Family Foundation.

Insurers will begin filing their proposed premium increases for 2017 soon. State regulators will review those proposals and then can either accept or reject them.

Michael Taggart, a consultant with S&P Dow Jones Indices, pointed to data from his firm showing per capita costs for insurers are spiking in the ObamaCare marketplaces.

“We made a significant change in the rules with the ACA, and we’re still working through the process to see how that market stabilizes,” Taggart said at a panel on Wednesday. “Is [a death spiral] a possibility? Sure it’s a possibility. I wouldn’t attempt to put a probability on it, because I think there are a lot of things going on.” 

One factor helping to prevent a death spiral is ObamaCare’s tax credits, which cushion the impact of premium increases on consumers.

“What we’re likely to see is more of a market correction than any kind of death spiral,” Levitt said. “There are enough people enrolled at this point that the market is sustainable. The premiums were just too low.”  

Dr. Mandy Cohen, the chief operating officer of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS), said in an interview that there is “absolutely not” a risk of a death spiral or collapse in the ObamaCare marketplaces.

While acknowledging that “companies are needing to adjust” to the new system, she pointed to the 12.7 million people who signed up this year, 5 million of whom were new customers, as a sign of success.

“What brings us the most confidence about the long term stability and health of the marketplace is its growth,” Cohen said.

Another risk, should regulators reject large premium increases, is that insurers could simply decide to cut their losses and drop off the exchanges altogether.

“Given that most carriers have experienced losses in the exchanges, often large losses, it only makes sense that most exchange insurers will request significant rate increases for 2017,” said Michael Adelberg, a former CMS official under President Obama and now a consultant at FaegreBD.

“Market exits are not out of the question if an insurer is looking at consecutive years of losses and regulators are unable to approve rates that get the insurer to break-even.”

The most prominent insurer eyeing the exits is UnitedHealth, which made waves in November by saying it was considering whether to leave ObamaCare in 2017 because of financial losses. The company last week announced that it is dropping its ObamaCare plans in Arkansas and Georgia, and more states could follow.

The Department of Health and Human Services argues that the attention on UnitedHealth is overblown, given that the insurer is actually a fairly small player in the marketplaces.

It’s more important to watch what happens with Blue Cross Blue Shield plans, which are the backbone of the ObamaCare marketplaces.

There have been some rumblings of discontent from Blue Cross plans. The plan in New Mexico already dropped off the marketplace there last year after it lost money and state regulators rejected a proposed 51.6 percent premium increase. Now, Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina says that it might drop out of the marketplace because of its losses.

Blue Cross of North Carolina CEO Brad Wilson said in an interview that the company had lost $400 million due to its ObamaCare business.

“We’re not alone, and I think that that also is evidence to suggest that there are systemic and fundamental challenges that we all need to have a civilized conversation about,” Wilson said.

He said a key factor in the decision on whether to stay in the market next year will be whether regulators approve whatever premium increase the company ends up proposing so as to try to make up for its losses.

Asked about the risk of a death spiral, Wilson said he is not worried about that happening “tomorrow,” but has concerns if the situation does not change over time.

“There’s not going to be something magical happen that will cause this to turn around,” Wilson said. He is pressing for changes like further tightening up extra sign up periods that insurers say people use to game the system and repealing the Health Insurance Tax, which could help lower premiums.

Cohen of the CMS said that her agency is in close touch with insurers and Blue Cross Blue Shield of North Carolina in particular. But she pushed back on talk of Blue Cross of North Carolina dropping out of the marketplace, stating flatly, “I have no concerns about them leaving the market.”

She referred to problems the company has had with its computer systems that have led to some people being enrolled in the wrong plan, along with other issues that have added to the company’s administrative costs.

“I know that they have struggled with some of their internal operations … but that is not related to anything to the health of the market itself or the risk pool,” Cohen said.

Overall, while the system set up by ObamaCare itself might be resilient, premium increases are sure to fuel Republican arguments that the law simply isn’t working.

“There’s more political risk here than anything else,” Levitt said.

GREENSPAN BLAMES OLD PEOPLE FOR BANKER DESTROYED ECONOMY

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Private bankster cartel wizard would turn America into a third world wasteland

Kurt Nimmo | Infowars.com – APRIL 15, 2016

On Thursday the former boss of the private banker cartel in control of the US economy, Alan Greenspan, told CNBC older Americans are responsible for the financial mess.

He said austerity measures proposed by the Simpson-Bowles Commission would solve the problem. The commission proposed shoring up deficit spending by cutting benefits to the elderly, veterans and government employees. A bill modeled on the plan was defeated in Congress back in 2012.

*
Greenspan is correct that entitlement spending is responsible for much of the national debt. However, he ignores the fact the class he represents—the financial oligarchy—is responsible for crashing the economy by creating asset bubbles fed by “easy” money policies implemented by the Federal Reserve and central banks.

Greenspan figures prominently in the destruction of the economy, a fact recognized by Time Magazine when it featured him as one of the “25 People to Blame for the Financial Crisis.”
Washington’s so-called “resident wizard” presided over artificially low interest rates that fed the housing bubble and resulted in the mortgage crisis. “Alan Greenspan will go down in history as the person most responsible for the enormous economic damage caused by the housing bubble and the subsequent collapse of the market,” writes Dean Baker.

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Punishment and Austerity Preferred Over Economic Sanity
Forty-nine percent, or almost half of all federal government spending, is gobbled up by Social Security and health care entitlements, primarily Medicare and Medicaid, according to the Office of Management and Budget.

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Nearly 20% is spent on “national defense,” a euphemism for military occupations, invasions and support for a bloated military-industrial complex.
The rest is spent on a vast federal bureaucracy represented by the Departments of Energy, Housing and Urban Development, Commerce, Interior and Education and handouts to corporations, foreign countries and other lobbied interests.

*
In 2012 during his failed (and sabotaged) presidential bid, Ron Paul offered his “Restore America Now” proposal. In addition to eliminating wasteful federal agencies and bureaucracy, Dr. Paul addressed entitlements. “We can honor our promises to our seniors and veterans while allowing young workers to opt out of the system so they can keep more of what they earn and take on the responsibility they want to have for their own retirements.”

*
Paul also proposed cutting the federal workforce by 10%, rolling back congressional pay and perks, and curbing excessive federal travel. He also suggested cutting corporate tax rates to induce business growth and ending taxes on personal savings.
The corporate media and the establishment responded by declaring Paul’s plan would destroy the economy and dismissed it as insane.

*
Now, instead of common sense proposals, we are subjected to draconian measures offered by Alan Greenspan, who would impose austerity and further turn America into a third world wasteland.
CNBC reported Greenspan’s remarks without commentary.
Ron Paul, however, did not merit such courtesy.

Obama Claims Power to Make Illegals Eligible for Social Security, Disability…

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By Terence P. Jeffrey | April 6, 2016 | 2:31 PM EDT

Does the president of the United States have the power to unilaterally tell millions of individuals who are violating federal law that he will not enforce that law against them now, that they may continue to violate that law in the future and that he will take action that makes them eligible for federal benefit programs for which they are not currently eligible due to their unlawful status?

Through Solicitor General Donald Verrilli, President Barack Obama is telling the Supreme Court exactly this right now.

The solicitor general calls what Obama is doing “prosecutorial discretion.”

He argues that under this particular type of “prosecutorial discretion,” the executive can make millions of people in this country illegally eligible for Social Security, disability and Medicare.

On April 18, the Supreme Court will hear arguments in the case. Entitled United States v. Texas, it pits President Obama against not only the Lone Star State, but also a majority of the states, which have joined in the litigation against the administration.

At issue is the policy the administration calls Deferred Action for Parents of Americans and Lawful Permanent Residents, which would allow aliens in this country illegally who are parents of citizens or lawful permanent residents to stay in the United States.

“The Executive Branch unilaterally created a program — known as DAPA — that contravenes Congress’s complex statutory framework for determining when an alien may lawfully enter, remain in, and work in the country,” the attorney general and solicitor general of Texas explained in a brief submitted to the Supreme Court on behalf of the states seeking to block the policy.

“DAPA would deem over four million unlawfully present aliens as ‘lawfully present’ and eligible for work authorization,” says the Texas brief. “And ‘lawful presence’ is an immigration classification established by Congress that is necessary for valuable benefits, such as Medicare and Social Security.”

In the administration’s brief, the solicitor general admits that the president’s DAPA program does not convert people illegally in the United States into legal immigrants. He further asserts that the administration at any time can decide to go ahead and remove these aliens from the country.

“Deferred action does not confer lawful immigration status or provide any defense to removal,” he says. “An alien with deferred action remains removable at any time and DHS has absolute discretion to revoke deferred action unilaterally, without notice or process.”

Despite this, he argues, the administration can authorize aliens here illegally on “deferred action” to legally work in the United States.

“Without the ability to work lawfully, individuals with deferred action would have no way to lawfully make ends meet while present here,” says the administration’s brief.

Nonetheless, the solicitor general stresses that “deferred action” does not make an illegal immigrant eligible for federal welfare.

“In general,” he says, “only ‘qualified’ aliens are eligible to participate in federal public benefit programs, and deferred action does not make an alien ‘qualified.’… Aliens with deferred action thus cannot receive food stamps, Supplemental Security Income, temporary aid for needy families, and many other federal benefits.”

But, he says, aliens here illegally with deferred action will be eligible for “earned-benefit programs.”

“A non-qualified alien is not categorically barred, however, from participating in certain federal earned-benefit programs associated with lawfully working in the United States — the Social Security retirement and disability, Medicare, and railroad-worker programs — so long as the alien is ‘lawfully present in the United States as determined by the (Secretary),'” says the solicitor general.

The “secretary” here is the secretary of Homeland Security.

“An alien with deferred action is considered ‘lawfully present’ for these purposes,” says the solicitor general.

So, as explained to the Supreme Court by Obama’s solicitor general, when DHS grants an alien here illegally “deferred action” under the president’s DAPA policy, that alien is not given “lawful immigration status” and can be removed from the country “at any time.” However, according to the solicitor general, that alien will be authorized to work in the United States and will be “considered ‘lawfully present'” for purposes of being eligible for “the Social Security retirement and disability, Medicare, and railroad-worker programs.”

The U.S. Constitution imposes this straightforward mandate on the president: “(H)e shall take care that the laws be faithfully executed.”

When the Supreme Court agreed in January to hear U.S. v. Texas, it made a telling request. It asked the parties to argue whether Obama’s DAPA policy “violates the Take Care Clause of the Constitution.”

The Obama administration has taken care of just one thing here: It has constructed a convoluted — and unconvincing argument — it hopes will provide the activists on the Supreme Court with a cover story to explain why this president need not faithfully execute the nation’s immigration laws.

Failed ObamaCare co-ops have not repaid $1.2B in federal loans, docs say

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by Rich Edson

EXCLUSIVE: The dozen failed ObamaCare cooperatives have not repaid any of the $1.2 billion in federal loans they received and still owe more than $1 billion in additional liabilities, according to recent financial statements cited Thursday at a congressional hearing.

“We shouldn’t hold our breath on repayment,” Sen. Rob Portman, R-Ohio, chairman of the Senate Permanent Subcommittee on Investigations, said in his opening statement at the hearing.

“In some states, these losses will be absorbed by other insurance companies—which means, by the policyholders of other insurance companies who have to pay increased … premiums,” he said. “In other states, doctors, hospitals and individual patients stand to suffer large out-of-pocket losses due to the co-op failures—as our report details.”

 

Portman’s statement, first obtained by Fox News, refers to an investigation by the committee’s majority staff.

It claims the most recent balance sheets provided to the subcommittee show the failed cooperatives owe more than $700 million to doctors and hospitals for plan year 2015.

The failed cooperatives lost $376 million and exceeded the projected worst-case-scenario losses outlined in their loan applications by more than $260 million in 2014. They lost an additional billion dollars in 2015, according to the report.

“Once the co-ops got going in 2014, things went south in a hurry—both in terms of financial losses and enrollment figures that wildly deviated from the co-ops’ own projections,” Portman said. “Despite getting regular reports that the co-ops were hemorrhaging cash, HHS [the Department of Health and Human Services] took essentially no corrective action for over a year.”

Deloitte Consulting initially granted the cooperatives a passing grade based on an HHS-designed grading scale. However it added seven of the 12 had serious deficiencies in their enrollment strategy, according to the report.  Others submitted budgets that were “incomplete, unreasonable, not cost-effective” and several “relied on unreasonable projections about their own growth.” 

The report cited in Portman’s statement also claims that from 2014–2015, the administration lent an additional $848 million to the failed cooperatives, as they lost more than $1.4 billion.

In previous testimony, administration officials have told congressional panels that the administration scrutinized cooperative business plans and then placed them on corrective oversight when necessary.

“In 2015 we conducted 27 financial and operational reviews, 16 in-person visits, and had 43 formal communications,” Andy Slavitt, the acting administrator of the Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services, told the Senate Finance Committee earlier this year.  “Not to mention hundreds of phone calls. And we’ve kept the states up to speed on every important interaction to help inform their regulatory actions.”

When questioned how much money the government could salvage from the failed cooperatives, officials said they were only beginning to determine amounts.

“We are in the process of recouping that loan money right now,” said Dr. Mandy Cohen, the chief operating officer and chief of staff of the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid, last month to a House panel. “We’ll look at their excess revenue and then use all the tools available to us through their loan agreements and state and federal law to pull back federal tax dollars.”

ObamaCare provided $2.4 billion in federal loans to establish 23 non-profit cooperatives.  A dozen failed and the administration has required eight of the remaining eleven to adhere to a “corrective action plan” designed to fix business flaws and prevent additional failures.  The closed cooperatives account for $1.2 billion in federal loans.

Defenders of the law and cooperatives say these non-profit  insurers operated in difficult markets and that it often takes years of financial commitment to build a viable business.

The failed cooperatives left hundreds of thousands of customers searching for a new insurance company.  In some states, the loss was significant.

“HHS gave the New York co-op $90 million to prolong its financial life, rather than allow it to scale down, that co-op went on to lose another $544 million in 2015,” according to Portman’s statement, citing his staff’s report.

Former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, the frontrunner in the Democratic presidential delegate count, pledged she would address the market void left by the failed cooperatives.

“We need to get more companies, more nonprofits, to fill this space. The ones that knew what they were doing have provided good services, but a lot of them have failed because they didn’t have the right support,” she said Monday at a Democratic presidential forum hosted by Fox News.

“Even in those markets where those co-ops had previously operated, we have seen a commitment on the part of those who are administering the markets to try to facilitate greater competition,” said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest.  “And creating the co-ops was just one way to do that, but we certainly are going to be open to other ways to encourage other entities, private or public, to get engaged in this process.”

When previously questioned by Congress, administration officials declined to forecast how many of the remaining cooperatives would survive this year.

“The co-ops themselves are really the ones who are going to be the ones to determine whether or not they ultimately will be successful,” said Cohen.  “They have a lot of work to do to rapidly mature their entities, their small businesses as you know and they’re still getting their foothold on this business.”