Responding to mounting criticism and calls for an investigation by New York lawmakers, Governor Andrew Cuomo attempted to deflect blame for the collapse of Health Republic, the nation’s largest, and New York’s only, Obamacare co-op.
Cuomo said New York had been working closely with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services, who provided $355 million in low-cost loans to help keep the co-op afloat despite finances indicating they were hemorrhaging money.
Via Capital New York:
Governor Andrew Cuomo on Thursday night sought to share responsibility for a key New York health co-op with the federal government, hours after a Republican congressman and possible challenger blamed the governor for not being more engaged.
Cuomo, speaking in Puerto Rico, said the state had been working “hand in glove” with the Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services to unwind Health Republic of New York and transition its more than 200,000 customers — 20 percent of the individual market in the state — to a new carrier in the next nine days.
Those Health Republic customers who fail to do so will lose their health insurance on Dec. 1.
As we reported yesterday, Chris Gibson, a potential challenger to Cuomo for the next gubernatorial election, called for the state comptroller to launch an investigation into the mismanagement of Health Republic.
We're taking action to protect New Yorkers who are losing their health insurance. Click here for an update: https://t.co/YWbiAT9qo9
— Chris Gibson (@RepChrisGibson) November 6, 2015
Up to 20,000 people in Gibson’s district alone stand to lose their insurance in nine days. Gibson told Time Warner Cable News that the co-op’s failure could be the start of a trend that leads to the collapse of the insurance market. “This failure represents about 20% of the individuals in New York state that went to the market for insurance,” Gibson said. “If this trend continues it’s going to be destabilizing for market. We need to know what happened.”
Democratic Rep. Sean Maloney added that there is little doubt that many people will be unable to attain new insurance by the November 15 deadline.
“There are going to be people who are not able to get insurance in time,” he warned, adding “It’s absolutely unacceptable that we have been blindsided by this.”
Maloney is also calling for a state investigation.
Radio host Brian Lehrer estimates that a majority of the 200,000 newly uninsured will not get a new plan prior to the deadline.
The co-op Health Republic is shutting down = 155k NYers will lose insurance. "It was a startup; start-ups sometimes fail," says @fredmogul.
— Brian Lehrer Show (@BrianLehrer) November 5, 2015
Meanwhile, rather than calling an emergency meeting to help these thousands upon thousands of New Yorkers who actually liked their plan but won’t be able to keep it, Cuomo is pointing fingers of blame at the administration. From Puerto Rico.