Tiberi Questions Why Obamacare Co-Ops Failed

Rep. Pat Tiberi Tuesday questioned whether health insurance premiums have skyrocketed in part because of the failure of health care co-ops created under President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law.

Rep. Pat Tiberi Tuesday questioned whether health insurance premiums have skyrocketed in part because of the failure of health care co-ops created under President Barack Obama's 2010 health care law.

At a House Ways and Means Committee hearing on the Affordable Care Act, Tiberi, R-Genoa Township, noted 8 out of the 23 health care co-ops still exist, and wondered if their premiums were initially underpriced in order to draw consumers.

One co-op, in Columbus, failed, meaning 22,000 people had to find coverage elsewhere, he said.

"It seems that the co-ops badly mispriced premiums, artificially creating a lower market, underpricing the market," he said.

Co-ops, created as a nod to the public option, were created in the Affordable Care Act as an alternative to traditional insurance companies.

"They were going in below market rate, and of course they had significant taxpayer support in establishing co-ops and getting them off the round," said. Joel White, president of the Council for Affordable Health Care Coverage. "But they were trying to attract consumers through lower premium rates. The cost experience quickly outpaced the premium they were charging and the vast majority of the co-ops have since folded."

Tiberi, a frequent critic of the health care law, said that many of the problems the bill were never solved. He said too many people still use the emergency room as their primary source of care, and many have seen their premiums and health care costs skyrocket.

"I know in my heart when the Affordable Care Act was passed, it was done with good intentions," he said. "I really believe that. I also know and have seen a lot of Americans who liked the health care they had and now they don't."

Source: The Columbus Dispatch