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  • Side Effects: Number of Waivers Grows As a Result of Obamacare Authors’ Sloppy Handiwork

    Jamie Dupree recently reported for the Atlanta Journal-Constitution that the number of waivers granted by the Obama Administration for a certain provision in the new health care law has now reached 222. That’s double the amount of just three weeks ago.

    The waivers apply to a provision of Obamacare prohibiting annual limits on health plans. For employers that currently provide their low-wage employees with so called “mini-med” health plans—which offer a limited benefit capped at a certain dollar amount—that provision presents a clear problem.

    Since the new law doesn’t specify whether those plans count as major medical insurance or supplemental coverage, businesses have applied for waivers to ensure that the benefit limits on their mini-med plans aren’t increased or eliminated. Otherwise, employers would no longer be allowed to offer those plans, resulting in more than a million low-wage workers losing their current coverage. Without the option of a mini-med plan, most of those workers would likely go uninsured until 2014, when they would then be able to obtain a health plan paid for by new federal subsidies through the new state health exchanges.

    The need to grant waivers highlights the irresponsible and careless way with which Congress drafted Obamacare. Authors of the legislation should have foreseen the dilemma presented by mini-med plans—if they had, it would have been easy to address within the language of the bill itself.

    Heritage health insurance expert Ed Haislmaier writes that lawmakers could have delayed the implementation date of this provision to coincide with the creation of the exchanges and the availability of subsidies for low- and middle-income Americans. Alternatively, Obamacare’s authors could have statutorily defined mini-med plans as supplemental coverage (as, for example, dental-only plans are), which would have clearly exempted them from the new regulations on insurance policies.

    The intent of the health law was to increase the number of insured and the quality of available coverage, but instead its supporters created a lose-lose situation for some workers. Absent waivers from the new law’s requirements, the number of uninsured Americans would instead increase between now and 2014. This is the result of bad legislation, plain and simple.

    The decision by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to exercise its discretionary authority by issuing waivers to compensate for the defects of Obamacare raises a larger governance issue. In order to preserve the “rule of law,” when executive branch agencies exercise discretionary authority they should do so by setting clear, easily understood rules that apply equally to all affected parties—not by putting in place a waiver process that allows unelected bureaucrats to arbitrarily decide on a case-by-case basis who gets favorable treatment. This policy undermines the rule of law and favors larger firms and better-connected individuals over small businesses and average Americans.

    The incoming Congress should exercise its oversight responsibility by instructing HHS to replace this waiver program with new, clear regulations that any business, no matter how small, can refer to and easily determine whether it needs to change its plan. That sort of clarity, certainty, and uniformity is what is meant by the phrase “the rule of law.” Without it, the exercise of government power instead becomes arbitrary and inequitable, and it invites abuse and corruption.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    8 Responses to Side Effects: Number of Waivers Grows As a Result of Obamacare Authors’ Sloppy Handiwork

    1. George Colgrove, VA says:

      "The decision by the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to exercise its discretionary authority by issuing waivers to compensate for the defects of Obamacare raises a larger governance issue. [. . .] This policy undermines the rule of law and favors larger firms and better-connected individuals over small businesses and average Americans."

      You referred to an article yesterday that stated in North America 5% of the governing employees would accept bribes. With the federal workforce of 2.7 million, this means 135,000 federal employees and around 30 congress people are subjected to accepting bribes. 222 waivers. How many of those wavers were due to bribery either for personal gain or campaign contributions.

      This is the way Jessie Jackson does his fund raising – lay down threats. The only way to protect themselves the companies have to pay their bully tax. Have the federal workers now become the same kind of thugs for the behalf of the ever growing political nature of the federal government? Starting to look like it. These 222 waivers may very well be companied hit up by the federal workforce in the same way Jessie Jackson does.

      There is a reason why the founders did not want a ever powerful federal government. If one state government got corrupted it could be exposed by the other states. Moreover, it would only effect the people of that one state – not the entire nation. The federal government is killing the entire country with no ability to shut it down quickly.

    2. Scot, New Jersey says:

      It's not just about the healthcare provisions;

      Amidst all the anger and frustration with the specific coverage components of Obamcare, it is all too easy to forget that there are powerful new authorities granted to the HHS Secretary and others in this law. The promulgation of all the regulations that will implement the various provisions of the law, will also see the exercising of these powerful new threats to our personal freedom. As we look to repeal or "de-fund" the bad policies of Obamacare, we must also find ways to repeal or block the interference in the personal lives and health decisions of all Americans by our government officials that will escalate as time goes on. It is the new powers granted by this legislation that scares me even more than some of the actual health insurance provisions.

      We must all keep in mind that "Eternal Vigilance is the Price of Freedom".

    3. Anne C says:

      I can just imagine how many insurers will also ask for a waiver for the regulation of their revenue spending. Maybe the Democrats are also aware that some provisions of ObamaCare are not doable – atleast not yet. What is the point in making regulations only to grant waivers to those who will ask for it. That's why it's important to first and foremost make the guidelines clear. ObamaCare has a lot of good benefits but it will be overshadowed by administrative and budget problems such as this one.

      Anne C

      NY Health Insurer

    4. Pingback: Tweets that mention Side Effects: Number of Waivers Grows As a Result of Obamacare Authors’ Sloppy Handiwork | The Foundry: Conservative Policy News. -- Topsy.com

    5. bryanmobley says:

      You guys should stop complaining because, one the health care we have now isnt as good as it was supposed to be. also the law has just been signed so give it some time. so if u want to say u have the right to choose tell that to ur congress men or state official. If you do not have insurance and need one You can find full medical coverage at the lowest price check http://ow.ly/3akSX .If you have health insurance and do not care about cost just be happy about it and trust me you are not going to loose anything!

    6. Dick, California says:

      Equal protection under the law?

    7. Tim AZ says:

      Seems as though some people are just now discovering that this regime loves to pick who the winners and loser are going to be. I guess if you ask yourself why the chosen winners happen to be the biggest employers you might also discover that they can make the biggest campaign contributions as well as other monetary trading opportunities. I suppose you should throw in union votes and the ability to manufacture civil unrest through union employs as well.

    8. Leon Lundquist, Dura says:

      Hey Tim! It is Unconstitutional! And these boobs in the White House forgot to put in a severability clause! The whole Health Care Bill is toast! Oh! Frabgeous day! But then one Unconstitutional thing down, only three hundred to go!

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