Ryan: Insurers say Obamacare failing faster than expected
Paige Winfield Cunningham, Al Weaver
By •7/20/16 1:17 PM
CLEVELAND — House Speaker Paul Ryan says he has heard personally from actuaries for a major health insurer that Obamacare is “failing.”
Speaking at a Wednesday breakfast for Ohio delegates to the Republican National Convention, Ryan said that actuaries for Blue Cross Blue Shield have told him the Affordable Care Act is going downhill faster than they expected.
“As I said in the beginning, this healthcare law is going to collapse under its own weight,” Ryan said.
“I met with all these actuaries from Blue Cross Blue Shield a little while ago, and they said ‘Well, congressman, the law is failing two years ahead of schedule,'” he added. “Meaning, basically, they saw it coming, but they didn’t think it would be this bad so fast.”
Several major health insurers have reported big losses from the plans they’re selling to Obamacare customers through online marketplaces set up under the 2010 healthcare law. UnitedHealthcare said Tuesday it’s losing an additional $200 million from the individual plans on top of losses it had already reported.
Ryan didn’t clarify which Blue Cross Blue Shield actuaries he talked to. But if Blue Cross Blue Shield plans to withdraw from the exchanges, that could dramatically affect some states where they have invested heavily and hold a large market share.
Republicans have seized on the reports of insurance losses, saying they are evidence that the law is unsustainable and should be repealed, as they have tried to do for years. Last month, Ryan and committee leaders rolled out a GOP replacement for the healthcare law, which they hope to pass should Republicans seize the White House and keep control of Congress next year.
Leaders of several top House committees worked on the replacement plan, but Ryan said Wednesday it was Ohio Rep. Pat Tiberi who really drove the effort. Tiberi, who is chairman of the House Ways and Means Committee health subcommittee, is the “quarterback” on healthcare, Ryan said.
“When I look at Pat, you have to understand that he is the quarterback on healthcare,” Ryan said. “You have to understand that we have a plan that he was the primary architect of for replacing Obamacare.”
“And so when rubber meets the road and we win the election and we’re in the trenches replacing this terrible law, do you know who is going to have that pen in hand? Do you know who is actually going to be actually making it happen? That’s going to be Pat Tiberi. So he’s going to be our quarterback on this,” Ryan said.