Washington, D.C. – Cause of Action Institute (CoA Institute) today sent a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) to investigate the Obama administration’s apparent attempt to bailout insurers through judicial settlements to compensate for shortfalls in the Affordable Care Act (ACA) risk corridors program.

CoA Institute President and CEO, and former federal judge, Alfred J. Lechner, Jr.: “The continuing failures of the ObamaCare Risk Corridors Program raise serious concerns about the long-term viability of the program.  It appears the administration is attempting to circumvent the law by bailing out insurance companies through judicial settlements. Americans deserve to understand how far the administration is willing to go to prop up a failing program with taxpayer money.”

Under the ACA, the Risk Corridors Program was supposed to collect payments from insurers with lower than expected losses and redirect the money to subsidize insurers with higher than expected losses. But because of the monetary shortfalls in the risk corridors program, payouts have been limited.

On September 9, 2016, CMS released a document entitled “Risk Corridors Payments for 2015,” stating that “no funds will be available at this time for 2015 benefit year risk corridors payments.” More concerning, the CMS document essentially invites judicial settlements with insurance companies:

We know that a number of issuers have sued in federal court seeking to obtain the risk corridors amounts that have not been paid to date. As in any lawsuit, the Department of Justice is vigorously defending those claims on behalf of the United States. However, as in all cases where there is litigation risk, we are open to discussing resolution of those claims. We are willing to begin such discussions at any time.

The CMS document raises serious questions about the intentions of the administration to fund the risk corridors program. Moreover, the U.S. Department of Justice Office of Legal Counsel has also determined that these “backdoor bailouts” are improper.

CoA Institute today requested all records referring to a lack of funds for risk corridors payments to insurance companies, as well as all records related to the September CMS document entitled “Risk Corridors Payments for 2015.”

The full FOIA can be found here.