Pandemic Insurance Backstop Draws Republican Opposition – Posey Says “It won’t work.”

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., delivers her opening statement during a House Committee on Oversight and Reform hearing on unsustainable drug prices on Capitol Hill, Wednesday, Sept. 30, 2020, in Washington. (Greg Nash/Pool via AP)

From Variety-Gene Maddaus

A proposal to provide a federal backstop for pandemic insurance ran into stiff opposition from some House Republicans during a hearing on Thursday.

Rep. Carolyn Maloney, D-N.Y., authored the Pandemic Risk Insurance Act, which would provide up to $750 billion in federal backing to allow insurers to issue policies that would cover losses from COVID or other pandemics. Insurers have denied coverage for most COVID losses, and has excluded pandemic coverage from all new policies.

The entertainment industry has rallied in support of Maloney’s bill because it would help film and TV productions get pandemic coverage, which can be critical to obtaining financing. Many other trade groups also backed the measure, including retailers, hotels, shopping malls and fast food chains.

But insurance industry associations have balked at the plan, arguing that the broad-based nature of a pandemic makes it essentially uninsurable. At a hearing on Thursday of a House Financial Services subcommittee, several Republican members also contended that the idea is unworkable.

“What we have here is a proposal for another government program that will try to do what the market won’t do on its own without subsidies,” said Rep. Bill Posey, R-Fla. “It just simply won’t work.”

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