The Consumer Operated and Oriented Plan (CO-OP) funding cut will hurt consumers, according to a CO-OP group leader.
President Obama signed H.R. 8, the bill that created ATRA, today.
ATRA Section 644 would let the 24 CO-OP organizers that have obtained startup loans keep their funding, but the section eliminates 90 percent of the funding authorization for future U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) efforts to award startup loans to CO-OP organizers.
The Patient Protection and Affordable Care Act (PPACA) CO-OP program is supposed to increase competition in the health insurance market by creating a new type of member-owned, nonprofit health insurer.
“Since long before the fiscal cliff agreement, the big health insurance companies have fought the new CO-OPs because they represent a real opportunity to lower health insurance premiums and allow consumers to belong to a member-governed heath insurer,” Morrison said in a statement about ATRA Section 644. “This fiscal cliff agreement gives the health insurance giants their wish…. Unless something is done to reverse this travesty, half of our country will have access to innovative, efficient, member-governed non-profit health insurance, and half will not.”
Originally, the CO-OP program had a $3.4 billion budget allocation, and HHS could have used that funding to support a total of about $7 billion in loans, NASHCO said.