Leading Senate Republicans pressed the administration Monday to explain how it plans to recoup $2.4 billion in loans to Obamacare’s flailing co-op program and whether consumers will be able to get new coverage without significant hiccups.
Officials in Arizona announced Friday that its co-op will close in 2016, meaning nearly half of the 23 programs set up under the Affordable Care Act have failed.
“These non-profit, consumer-run health plans were intended to improve coverage, increase competition, and provide more affordable options. The CO-OPs are not living up to these expectations,” Senate Finance Committee Chairman Orrin Hatch, of Utah, and Senate Health Committee Chairman Lamar Alexander, of Tennessee, wrote in a letter to Andy Slavitt, acting administrator at the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services.
Their push comes one day before House Republicans kick off a pair of hearing on the co-ops’ woes, which have energized Obamacare’s critics right as the administration kicks off the law’s third round of signups on its web-based marketplace.
The co-ops, or Consumer Operated and Oriented Plans, were supposed to offer a consumer-oriented alternative to big-business insurance companies when the Affordable Care Act began to offer subsidized coverage on the exchanges in January 2014.