Imagine my shock when I heard that portions of Obamacare are running into financial difficulty:
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The Obama administration on Friday said it would stop enrolling new beneficiaries in a special $5 billion insurance program for people with pre-existing medical conditions, because of rising costs and limited funding.
The news comes a day after a top U.S. healthcare official told lawmakers on Capitol Hill that the administration is grappling with financial difficulties but determined to keep the Pre-Existing Condition Insurance Plan (PCIP) operating in 23 states and the District of Columbia through 2013.
PCIP was established in 2010 under President Barack Obama’s healthcare reform law to provide coverage for sick people unable to find it in the private insurance market. The program is designed as a bridge to January 1, 2014, when legal restrictions barring discrimination over medical conditions come into force.
The U.S. Department of Health and Human Services issued a notice on Friday saying it would suspend new enrollments beginning on Saturday to “help ensure that funds are available through 2013 to continuously cover people currently enrolled in PCIP.”
And what happens to government agencies that find they are short on money? Why, they ration:
Gary Cohen, the HHS official responsible for overseeing implementation of Obama’s healthcare reforms, including PCIP, told the Senate Finance Committee on Thursday that the administration had begun to alter program benefits while grappling with funding restrictions.
It’s not very difficult to see where this whole thing is going to go.