The Republican-led House of Representatives is expected to investigate a “serious flaw” in the federal health insurance marketplace, according to a letter sent by Sen. Rand Paul (R-Ky.) to Speaker Paul Ryan (R) on Thursday.
Paul’s letter to Ryan follows a letter to other GOP lawmakers and officials from Sen. Jeff Flake (R, Ariz.) on Tuesday and Sen. Lisa Murkowski (R and the GOP’s only independent on the Senate health committee), who wrote a letter demanding that the House investigate the “out-the-gate” claims that insurers are gouging customers.
Paul, who chairs the Senate Health Committee, said in his letter to Paul Ryan that he would “begin an investigation into the potential for the ‘out of control’ claims of the insurance market to have a negative impact on our ability to ensure that our citizens are protected from the cost of coverage.”
The Hill reported on Wednesday that the Trump administration and the insurers were preparing a lawsuit against the Congressional Budget Office for what they called the “unprecedented” claim of premium increases under ObamaCare.
The administration’s lawsuit would claim that insurers have to charge more for policies than they did before the law passed, even though premiums were frozen.
“I am writing to express my deep concern regarding claims that are being made about the cost to consumers of the ObamaCare plans and the cost-sharing reduction subsidies,” Paul wrote in his email to Ryan.
“The CBO estimates that over a 10-year period, premiums for 2018 alone will be higher than the cost paid for 2016, which has been estimated at $1,100 per person per year for a family of four.
That means that if these claims are true, premium increases for 2020 and 2021 would be more than $1 trillion higher than what was actually paid out in premium subsidies to enrollees.”
Paul’s criticism comes as insurers have complained that they have been unable to predict how many people will sign up for ObamaCare coverage under the law, particularly those who would be most vulnerable to premium hikes.
The Congressional Budget Ombudsman said in a report last week that the number of enrollees was “at least a factor” in determining the premium increases.