• The Heritage Network
    • Resize:
    • A
    • A
    • A
  • Donate
  • Yet Another New Obamacare Bureaucracy

    Once again, Obamacare shows that, when it comes to health care reform, the saying “Hey, it’s the thought that counts” just doesn’t cut it.

    Proponents of the new law argue that its stringent insurance regulations will help consumers, but these new regulations also threaten some existing employer-sponsored plan arrangements. To avoid a flood of workers losing their health care, two-and-a-half million people have been exempted from the new rules through waivers granted to employers. A hearing held by the House Energy and Commerce Subcommittee on Oversight and Investigation last week took a further look into the process by which waivers are awarded and why they’re needed in the first place.

    In 2010, Obamacare forbade insurers from placing annual or lifetime limits on benefits as part of its “consumer protections reforms.” Unfortunately for those employers who offer their workers “mini-med”  health plans—which cap benefits at a certain dollar amount—abiding by these new regulations would render coverage unaffordable. As a result, these employers would no longer be able to offer mini-med plans, and their employees would lose their current coverage years ahead of Obamacare’s creation of an alternative option. Consequently, the number of uninsured would increase due to this careless oversight in Obamacare.

    To fix the problem, the Center for Consumer Information and Insurance Oversight (CCIIO)—a government entity created under the new law to oversee the changes made by Obamacare to the private insurance market—stepped in. The Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) issued regulations giving CCIIO the power to waive that requirement, thus arbitrarily determining winners and losers under the new law and resulting in a system where some must abide by new regulations while others are given a “get out of jail free” card by bureaucrats at CCIIO.

    John Larson, Deputy Administrator and Director of CCIIO, stated in the hearing that waivers allow “employers and insurers to continue offering limited coverage if they can show that complying with the regulation would cause their enrollees to experience a significant increase in premiums or decrease in access to benefits.”

    Back in December, Heritage noted that the number of waivers granted by the Obama Administration was 222. In just two months, the number has skyrocketed to 915. These waivers don’t solve the real and permanent issues in the United States’ health insurance market and instead highlight the carelessness with which Obamacare was crafted. Rather than instill positive reform, they signal an attempt to plug one of the many holes under the new law.

    Representative Fred Upton (R–MI), chairman of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, said that waivers are necessary because “complying with the PPACA would have forced hundreds of businesses to drop the health insurance plans they provide to their workers because the plans that Obamacare would have forced them to have would have been too expensive, and would have bankrupted those business.”

    Heritage health insurance expert Ed Haislmaier writes that Congress could have fixed this problem by “simply delay[ing] the effective date of the prohibition on annual coverage limits until after 2014, when the legislation’s new subsidies for more comprehensive coverage become available to workers losing their current mini-med coverage.” Another route Congress could have taken was exempting mini-med plans from the coverage requirement and calling them supplemental coverage.

    The message resonating from the subcommittee hearing is that the growing number of waivers approved by the CCIIO bureaucracy wouldn’t be needed if Congress took the time to write solid health care reform rather than slapping together ineffective changes with unintended consequences that, in fact, do the opposite of what the Administration promised the American people.

    In the meantime, Congress should tell HHS to rewrite its regulation implementing this section of Obamacare to give employers a simple, uniform exemption instead of its current arbitrary and unseemly process of issuing waivers on a case-by-case basis.

    This post was co-authored by Amanda Rae Kronquist.

    Posted in Obamacare [slideshow_deploy]

    13 Responses to Yet Another New Obamacare Bureaucracy

    1. wgbfox1V Rolla, Miss says:

      This is the single worst peace of legislation passed in the last forty years.

    2. Bobbie says:

      waivers are pacifiers. to fix the problem, repeal the unconstitutional bill and remove this government costly entity not needed. Just curious, are there any czars employed in the obamacare field?

    3. George Colgrove, VA says:

      Step by step it grows and it grows. It is getting to a point where absurdity rules and common sense takes a backseat.

      We wont be able to stop this ship before the 2012 election. Meanwhile the federal workforce will drive us to a collective national debt of over $16 trillion.

      Yes conservatives will take over, but their job will be insurmountable. People will need to brace themselves for what little the feds will be able to do. At best tax revenue will be no ore than $2.2 trillion and it will take about a trillion a year to start paying the interest and a little amount of principal. The feds will only be able to afford a budget of $1.2 trillion.

      That will be to pay for defence, entitlements,a 2.7 million federal workforce and everything else.

      This government in a time we need cuts – and deep ones – seem dead set to grow at all cost. To these feds, money is no object. 70% of the public workers feel that we should continue to spend as we are. I suppose they also want us private sector employees to pay higher taxes as well.

    4. Vicki L. Crutchfield says:

      Show me the money! If public entitlements are available for low income; I'm probably on the list. I lived in the following states the latter being my present location. Thanks a Veteran and a Senior Citizen.

      Colorado, Colorado Springs

      Ohio, Columbus

      PA, Beaver Falls, & Monaca

    5. Pingback: Must Know Headlines 3.3.2011 — ExposeTheMedia.com

    6. Pingback: Even More Bureaucracy | Citizens to Repeal Obamacare

    7. Norma in Nebraska says:

      I am wondering if I am alone in the total disgust and frustration that I feel for the decisions that are coming out of Washington, the total disregard for the wishes of the American people, the endless spending which is unsustainable, and the apparent ignorance of our elected officials as to the ultimate outcome for our country if we stay on this path. When we hear, "We are from the government, and we are here to help you," we should say, "No Thanks" and learn to take care of ourselves. There is no such thing as a free lunch, and we surely are smart enough by now to realize it!

      All I hear is how "no one" wants to touch entitlement spending by making changes and cuts – WHY NOT??? It doesn't take a rocket scientist to know that if we do NOTHING, our fate is sealed. I have to wonder where those idiots think all this money is coming from . . . and printing more is NOT the answer. If we don't start cutting across the board now, there will be no "LATER!" Yes, we WILL have to make concessions, we WILL have to give up some of those freebies we are enjoying, but would you rather see you children and grandchildren live with the alternative?

      This health care bill is NOT about insuring more people . . . it is about power and control. The government has taken over our health care system against our will, they have banned drilling of oil here at home against our will, they have subsidized green energy sources against our will, they have taken over our banking system against our will, they have taken over manufacturers against our will, and they arbitrarily disregard laws whenever they feel like it – look at immigration and marriage. These, plus many more take-overs are nails in our country's coffin.

      We are at a crucial point in history: do we rise up and demand the end of this insanity; or do we lay down and give up, letting the progressives of this country dictate every moment of our lives? Talking about "working for the man"!!! If you are unhappy about dealing with cuts now, how do you think you will feel when THEY decide how you will spend every single penny that you earn . . . spreading the wealth!

      We MUST make a choice NOW before it is too late!

    8. Renny Maryland says:

      This guy doesn't care! Time is on his side and he is taking advantage of it. It seems there is nothing to do, again because of time. It is unconstitutional, why don't we just STOP IT now??? Why keep fighting with him.If the republicans keep picking, TIME will allow him to fugure out how to FIX his coorupt program!!!

      Why are we still kissing his_____, just STOP!!

    9. Kathie , Arlington, says:

      Thanks, Norma in Nebraska. I'm not alone in my frustration and worry about what is happening to our country. How can we spread democracy around the globe when we make set such a pathetic example!!

    10. Diana Brown, Illinoi says:

      I am so disgusted with this unconstitutional health care law. We should keep on defunding this law because it is all about power and control over our lives. There is nothing in our Constitution that said the federal government has a right to dictate or mandate this law. It is clearly unconstitutional and should be stopped.

    11. Wes in cincy says:

      People should stop talking about correcting parts of Obamacare.

      The whole plan of Obama and the Dumbercrats was just to get the structure in place. They will be willing to adjust any part of it temporarily, because they believe that when Obama gets re-elected they will just change it back.

      That's why the whole thing needs to be repealed. So that if he does get reelected he will have to go through the whole process again and people will be much wiser the next time.

    12. Pingback: HDR 127: Another Muslim Attack On Our Military « Hump Day Report

    13. Ray, Savannah, GA says:

      What they need to do, is kill HObamascare, and set up MAJOR tort reform!

    Comments are subject to approval and moderation. We remind everyone that The Heritage Foundation promotes a civil society where ideas and debate flourish. Please be respectful of each other and the subjects of any criticism. While we may not always agree on policy, we should all agree that being appropriately informed is everyone's intention visiting this site. Profanity, lewdness, personal attacks, and other forms of incivility will not be tolerated. Please keep your thoughts brief and avoid ALL CAPS. While we respect your first amendment rights, we are obligated to our readers to maintain these standards. Thanks for joining the conversation.

    Big Government Is NOT the Answer

    Your tax dollars are being spent on programs that we really don't need.

    I Agree I Disagree ×

    Get Heritage In Your Inbox — FREE!

    Heritage Foundation e-mails keep you updated on the ongoing policy battles in Washington and around the country.

    ×