Monday, 15 November 2010

More Companies Receiving ObamaCare Waivers

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When the American people learned that the congressmen who wrote the new healthcare law were exempt from it, questions regarding the alleged benefits of the new legislation were raised. Further proof that ObamaCare may not be all that it was touted to be can be found in the fact that 111 companies, including a number of unions, have been given waivers to be exempted from certain provisions of the law.

First, questions regarding the quality of the healthcare were highlighted when it was discovered that on page 158 of the healthcare legislation, a provision is found that ultimately exempts senior Democrat staffers who wrote the bill from being forced to purchase healthcare plans in the same way as other Americans.

Now, the cost-effectiveness of ObamaCare, or lack thereof, is emphasized by the increased issuance of waivers to large companies. The New York Times reports:

As Obama administration officials put into place some of the new rules that go into effect under the federal healthcare law, they are issuing more waivers to try to prevent some insurers and employers from dropping coverage and also promising to modify other rules because many of the existing policies would not meet new standards.

In fact, the list of companies receiving waivers jumped from 33 to 111 names in less than one month. Not surprisingly, the White House failed to issue a press release addressing the increase. Fox News notes, “The news is buried on the Health and Human Services website. It takes six separate clicks to find it.”

According to that website, as of November 1, 2010,

Applications for waivers from annual limit requirements are reviewed on a case by case basis by Department officials who look at a series of factors including whether or not a premium increase is large or if a significant number of enrollees would lose access to their current plan because the coverage would not be offered in the absence of a waiver.

In October, the federal government issued dozens of one-year waivers to companies like McDonald’s, insurers, and unions. TheTimes explains, “These limited-benefit plans, also known as ‘minimeds,’ fail to comply with new rules phasing out limits on how much policies will provide in medical care each year.”

Furthermore, the administration granted dozens more waivers in order to avoid the disruption that would have resulted from the enforcement of the new rules. Likewise, the Department of Health and Human Services has indicated it will use a different method of calculating spending for these plans so that they would meet new regulations.

The administration has defended these decisions, asserting that they are merely addressing concerns posed by employers. However, Gateway Pundits contends that without the “right connections, you can’t get a waiver for your company.” It adds, “That’s the new reality under the Obama-Pelosi regime.”

Similarly, Fox News asserts, “These are companies that maybe have the smartest lawyers and loudest voices — Aetna, McDonald’s, Jack in the Box, the unions — fighting for the exemptions and getting the waivers.”

In response to that, Fox News contributor Tracey Barnes told Fox News:

That’s the sin of it. A law was created inside of three minutes. It was "shoot now, ask questions later." We put it out there; we realized everything is wrong with it. And the little guy affected the most doesn’t have the money and the big corporate attorneys to go back to the government and fight for it. We have big companies getting away with it and the little guy getting hurt yet again.”

Gateway Pundits carefully examined the list of 111 names and noted an abundance of unions, including the Service Employees International Union (SEIU), UFCW Allied Trade Health & Welfare Trust, IBEW No 915, Asbestos Workers Local 53 Welfare Fund, Plumbers & Pipefitters Local 123 Welfare Fund, UFCW Local 227, UFCW Maximus Local 455, Local 25 WEIU, UFCW Local 1262, Local 802 Musicians Health Fund, Local 17 Hospitality Benefit Fund, International Union of Painters and Allied Trades (IUPAT), Transport Workers, and UFT Welfare Fund (United Federation of Teachers).

Critics of ObamaCare are pointing to the waivers as proof of their assertions that the healthcare legislation is a “jobs killer.” Wayne Rogers of Wayne Rogers & Co. told Fox News:

When you put the power in the hands of the administration — in a bureaucracy — to decide who is going to obey the law and who isn’t going to obey the law, you’ve vitiated the entire purpose of the law in the first place. What they’ve done here is admitted that they cannot create jobs with this-they know that this is a ‘job killer’ and they’ve admitted it.

Tracey Barnes concludes:

The bottom line here is that they gave out waivers as an admission of guilt. Basically they’re saying, "You’re right. We screwed up." That’s the bottom line here. They did not create a law that benefits all of us.

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