A U.S. House panel is trying to cut the funding that would be available to would-be organizers of a new type nonprofit, member-owned health insurer.
Members of the House Appropriations subcommittee that oversees the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) voted Wednesday to approve a draft bill that would rescind $3 billion in funding that Congress has provided for the Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) program in the Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act of 2010 (PPACA).
The draft bill also would prohibit HHS from using Centers for Medicare & Medicaid Services (CMS) program management funding to operate the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO), the agency now in charge of implementing many PPACA provisions.
John Morrison, president of the National Alliance of State Health CO-OPs (NASHCO), Helena, Mont., says in a statement about the proposed CO-OP funding cut that HHS already has promised 17 CO-OP organizers about $1.3 billion in loans.
That amount “is more than would be left for the program if this proposal were to become law,” Morrison says. “Instead of working to improve the health care system in our country in a pragmatic and bipartisan way — which is what health CO-OPs are currently undertaking -= the members of the subcommittee who voted for this legislation seem to be focused on creating a political issue for November.”