Hatch Warning About Obamacare Co-Ops Proves Prophetic

In an interview with National Journal, Sen. Orrin Hatch discusses his 2013 warning to the Obama administration about the impending collapse of the nonprofit insurance CO-OP program under Obamacare—a warning that liberals dismissed but has since been proven correct as 21 of the 23 insurers participating in the program have incurred net losses as of the end of last year.

Reports Caitlin Owens:

“Strongly worded let­ters” are writ­ten so fre­quently in Con­gress, and to so little ef­fect, that the phrase has be­come a catchall term for fu­tile ac­tion. So, when Re­pub­lic­an Sen. Or­rin Hatch of Utah penned one such let­ter in late 2013 warn­ing of a co-op’s de­mise, it was un­der­stand­able that it passed without much no­tice—dis­missed as an­oth­er ripple in the du­el­ing rivers of par­tis­an rhet­or­ic about Obama­care.


In­stead, Hatch’s let­ter proved proph­et­ic.


“We made it pretty clear that they wer­en’t go­ing to work, and they haven’t worked, nor did they really have much of a chance to work,” Hatch, cur­rently chair­man of the Sen­ate Fin­ance Com­mit­tee, said in an in­ter­view. Sens. Lamar Al­ex­an­der of Ten­ness­ee, Mi­chael En­zi of Wyom­ing, and Tom Coburn of Ok­lahoma coau­thored the let­ter with him, as well as Rep. Charles Bous­tany of Louisi­ana, who was then chair­man of the House Ways and Means Com­mit­tee’s over­sight sub­com­mit­tee.


After Hatch sent the let­ter to HHS, he said, “that was kind of the end of it, as far as the ad­min­is­tra­tion was con­cerned. They don’t think seem to be that in­ter­ested in try­ing to re­struc­ture it or change it or get it to work.” But then he de­faul­ted back to a broad­er cri­tique of the health care law—an “ab­ject fail­ure,” he said—and Demo­crats’ per­ceived re­luct­ance to ad­mit its short­com­ings. On co-ops spe­cific­ally, while he and the oth­er Re­pub­lic­ans “raised the is­sue … it’s been im­possible to really cor­rect Obama­care be­cause the Demo­crats treat it like a scrip­ture,” he said.