The news: Today, the House will vote on Speaker Pelosi’s “Careless” Act.
She’s struggling to keep her caucus on board with the 1,185-page bill. But in an amendment filed mere hours before the vote, the Speaker was able to appease a different coalition: health insurers.
Speaker Pelosi spent weeks following passage of the Families First Coronavirus Response Act claiming credit for preventing the bill from becoming a “corporation-first” bill—yet Democrats acted at the last minute to ensure that insurers weren’t left behind in their partisan bill.
The details: As part of the “manager’s amendment” to the “Careless” Act, Democrats added new health insurance company giveaways to their partisan package, allowing taxpayer dollars to flow to almost every major line of business of private health insurers. At a time when small businesses are strapped for cash, the Speaker’s “corporate-first” addition comes despite insurers reporting to their investors federal assistance wasn’t needed.
And in a further blow to taxpayers, the Speaker didn’t cap how much money health insurers would receive. Insurers would collect “such sums as may be necessary,” a blank check from the federal government. Sure sounds like Speaker Pelosi is putting corporations first!
Even worse, Democrats are pushing this giveaway while reneging on relief provided to small businesses in the CARES Act, like tax credits for paid leave, or access to liquidity by allowing small businesses to carry back losses over five years.
The bottom line: Speaker Pelosi may want to have a word with Senator Bernie Sanders who has described her bill as a “massive giveaway to the health insurance industry.”