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Graphic showing how medical loss ratio works
About 8.5 million people are going to get a check from their insurance company this summer. Yes, you read that right: Health insurance companies are actually sending money to subscribers. That's because of a provision in the Affordable Care Act that insurance companies hate more than just about any other: the medical loss ratio. That just means that there is a cap on how much of your premium dollars the insurance companies can spend on administrative costs and keep as profits. Under Obamacare, 80 percent of your payment has to go to your care. If your insurance company doesn't meet that goal, they have to send you a rebate for the difference.

President Obama highlighted this provision of the law Thursday morning in a speech at the White House, and he injected a little bit of politics in light of the votes Wednesday in the Republican House to dismantle parts of the law.

"[Y]esterday, despite all the evidence that the law is working the way it was supposed to for middle-class Americans, Republicans in the House of Representatives voted—for nearly the 40th time—to dismantle it. We've got a lot of problems in this country, and there's a lot of work that Congress needs to do: get a farm bill passed, get immigration reform done, make sure we’ve got a budget in place that invests in our children and our future. And yet, instead we're refighting these old battles. Sometimes I just try to figure out why. Maybe they think it's good politics. But part of our job here is not to always think about politics. Part of our job here is to sometimes think about getting work done on behalf of the American people, on behalf of the middle class and those who are striving to get into the middle class.
Why the GOP won't give up on Obamacare, in part, is because they want to distract from the positive news like this: that the law is actually working for people, that it might just be good for the public, and might just save them money, along with making sure there will be access to health insurance for millions. But these rebate checks will make it just that much harder for the GOP to continue make it's case against the law.

For more information on the how the medical loss ratio in Obamacare works, the White House released this fact sheet. President Obama's full remarks are available here.

Originally posted to Joan McCarter on Thu Jul 18, 2013 at 09:54 AM PDT.

Also republished by Daily Kos.

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