Monday, 23 May 2011 15:15

ObamaCare Cheerleader AARP Given ObamaCare Waiver

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When President Obama, House Speaker Nancy Pelosi, and Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid saw to the passage of ObamaCare in March 2010, they feigned excitement over the supposed benefits that were to befall the American people. As time passed following the law’s passage, however, it became evident that the law was not all it was touted to be, and a massive amount of waivers were handed out to those well-connected enough to secure them from the Obama administration. The latest group to receive a waiver is a company that was ironically one of the biggest cheerleaders of the healthcare legislation at the time of its passage: the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).

Townhall reports:

AARP was a prominent and vocal supporter of the unpopular overhaul, stubbornly insisting that seniors would benefit from the law’s provisions, despite strenuous objections from its members. Although the organization paid a significant price for its stance, it later emerged that alienating thousands of members may have been a profitable endeavor after all. In return for its political support, AARP will be the happy beneficiary of an enormous Obamacare windfall. If that weren’t galling enough, today we learn that the organization — which, again, energetically lobbied for the bill’s passage — will receive a White House approved waiver from elements of the law they’d prefer not to follow.

According to the Department of Health and Human Services, “Medigap” policy providers will be exempt from oversight when they increase payment rates for supplemental insurance plans. The Daily Caller explains:

Insurance providers who aren’t exempt from Obamacare’s rate review rules are required to publicly release and explain some healthcare payment rate increases. The AARP is the nation’s biggest seller of Medigap policies, or supplemental healthcare plans that add onto what Medicare won’t cover for seniors. The senior citizens interest group advocated for Obamacare to include an attack on Medigap policies’ biggest competitor, Medicare Advantage.

AARP is already under investigation after the Ways and Means Committee discovered that it stands to gain $1 billion from the new healthcare law over the next decade. Two Republican members of the Ways and Means Committee said that the new law would result in an increased demand of Medicare supplemental policies endorsed by AARP, which would bring in money from collecting royalties and fees from the sale of insurance policies. According to those GOP members, the organization should have its tax-exempt status investigated.

Meanwhile, despite AARP’s overwhelming support of the legislation, it proved to be less beneficial to AARP’s employees. In an e-mail sent to AARP employees, the organization indicated that healthcare premiums will increase by 8 percent, to 13 percent, as a result of rapidly rising medical costs. It also told its employees that it will be changing copayments and deductibles to avoid a 40-percent tax on high-cost health plans that would take effect in 2018.

Meanwhile, the White House is denying accusations of playing favorites with AARP. The Daily Caller indicates:

Though the White House and HHS dismiss allegations of political favoritism when it comes to who’s getting exceptions from the new health care regulations — such as in the recent uproar over the disproportionate number of Obamacare waivers that went to companies in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s district — Obamacare critics say the mere appearance of the administration helping friends is disturbing.

The New American’s Ralph Reiland noted the benefit of political connections in "ObamaCare: Survival of the Well-Connected?" Reiland references Matthew Boyle of the Daily Caller, who wrote last week:

Pelosi’s district secured almost 20 percent of the latest issuance of waivers nationwide. Of the 204 new Obamacare waivers the Obama administration approved in April, 38 are for fancy eateries, hip nightclubs and decadent hotels in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s Northern California district.

AARP is yet another organization which has benefited from supporting the Obama administration. Frustrated by the pervasive collusion evidenced in the handing out of ObamaCare waivers, Townhall declared, “AARP aided and abetted Democrats’ efforts to inflict a disastrous bill on an unwilling public. They now stand to profit from the resulting law — while simultaneously receiving convenient exemptions from provisions that may hurt their bottom line.”

Frustrated by the clear favoritism of the Obama administration for its leading supporters, Ed Morrissey of Hot Air writes, “If the AARP and the labor unions that backed Obamacare need waivers from its consequences, then we all do.”

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