ObamaCare waivers soar past 1,000

posted at 12:15 pm on March 7, 2011 by Ed Morrissey

ObamaCare continues to unravel, both in the courtroom and in its rollout.  The Department of Health and Human Services added another 126 waivers on Friday for health plans that don’t meet the new federal requirements, bringing the total number of waivers to over 1,000:

HHS posted 126 new waivers on Friday, bringing the total to 1,040 organizations that have been granted a one-year exemption from a new coverage requirement included in the healthcare reform law enacted almost a year ago. Waivers have become a hot-button issue for Republicans, eager to expose any vulnerabilities in the reform law.

In order to avoid disruption in the insurance market, the healthcare overhaul gives HHS the power to grant waivers to firms that cannot meet new annual coverage limits in 2011. The waivers have typically been granted to so-called “mini-med” plans that offer limited annual coverage — as low as $2,000 — that would fall short of meeting the new annual coverage floor of $750,000 in 2011.

“We don’t want to take away people’s health insurance before they have some realistic other choices,” HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius said in an interview with The Hill earlier this year.

But that points to a number of larger problems in ObamaCare overall.  First, those mini-med programs that comprise the bulk of the waivers provided low-cost coverage for part-time workers that couldn’t afford any other insurance.  Furthermore, the plans actually incentivized cost control better than the comprehensive plans pushed by HHS and ObamaCare that hide price signals from the consumers.  That will still be as true in 2012 and 2013 as it is in 2011, but after 2014 taxpayers will end up picking up most of the tab instead of the employers and employees that use mini-med plans now.

More insidiously, no one at HHS has explained how these organizations get waivers.  There appears to be no set standard for them.  Rep. Fred Upton, the chair of the House Energy and Commerce Committee, demanded such an explanation seven weeks ago.  None has been forthcoming, but HHS has managed to add over 800 waivers in those seven weeks.

That’s one of the fundamental dangers of ObamaCare.  It’s government by whim, not by law.  The entire act is filled with the phrase, “The secretary shall determine” or equivalents, meaning that HHS can essentially make up and change rules as they go along.  No one knows what to expect from this vast expansion of regulatory power precisely because it’s based on executive whimsy rather than sound and objective law.  Apart from all other aspects of ObamaCare, this is the most destructive quality in regard to the rule of law — and Congress had better act to stop it from proceeding for that reason alone.


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repeal and replace…now!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Khun Joe on March 7, 2011 at 12:18 PM

Several branches of the SEIU, who used union money to lobby for socialized medicine, have gotten waivers. Coincidence, I’m sure.

Vashta.Nerada on March 7, 2011 at 12:19 PM

A WSJ op-ed complements this information nicely.

It’s a disaster through and through.

Drained Brain on March 7, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Picking winners and losers is no diffferent than picking strong horses or weak horses is it?

a capella on March 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

*crickets chirping*
-lsm

Every committee should be demanding some answers to this boondoggle

cmsinaz on March 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

None has been forthcoming, but HHS has managed to add over 800 waivers in those seven weeks.

The entire shooting match has been revealed for what it is, Ed. That is, it’s a REVENUE STREAM. The waiver funds the cost of Winning the Future. There is no care involved, it’s only a crap sandwich for which you have to pay to avoid eating.

Not unconstitutional, its anticonstitutional.

ted c on March 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

How can a law relying entirely on “The secretary shall determine” be constitutional.

joeindc44 on March 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

How many days left on the FL Judge’s seven days for bho and team to getter done on bhocare? Will bho just ignore the Judge? Will the Judge hold bho and team in contempt?
L

letget on March 7, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Have the House Republicans set hearings and issued subpoena for the needed information? Why is there no Republican offense?

GaltBlvnAtty on March 7, 2011 at 12:21 PM

“Croney capitalism for my friends, socialism for my enemies.”

~Barry Soetoro

Rebar on March 7, 2011 at 12:22 PM

Several branches of the SEIU, who used union money to lobby for socialized medicine, have gotten waivers. Coincidence, I’m sure.

Vashta.Nerada on March 7, 2011 at 12:19 PM

Two, or so I’ve read are from Chicago.

Knucklehead on March 7, 2011 at 12:22 PM

ObamaCare waivers soar past 1,000

Waivers for thee, but not for me.

Who knew that waivers could multiply like rabbits?

rukiddingme on March 7, 2011 at 12:27 PM

HHS posted 126 new waivers on Friday, bringing the total to 1,040 organizations

The very first waiver should have been enough to rule the law unconstitutional. Now there are 1,040 of them and it is bound to grow more. The entire predicate for the bill was to insure those who did not have coverage at all not to have Kathleen Sebelious deciding who the law applies to.

fourdeucer on March 7, 2011 at 12:27 PM

Two, or so I’ve read are from Chicago.
Knucklehead on March 7, 2011 at 12:22 PM

The Chicago Wayver

Drained Brain on March 7, 2011 at 12:28 PM

Whimsy Bribery.

Everything with Barry is pay to play from the waivers to the GM union pensions bailout to the crooked judges electing Chicago tourist Rahm.

viking01 on March 7, 2011 at 12:28 PM

So Obamacare, the be all and end all to healthcare sanity in America, en masse by federal “mandate”, is making exceptions to said thrust of the effort – a federal mandate… by allowing a hand pick political hack to determine those who qualify under the mandate.

And I thought all federal programs, by law, had to list any and all rules to either qualify or disqualify yourself or organization, yet – Sebalus wont even release the method of “selection”, while piling on 800+ waivers…

Get her ass in front of Congress to explain the waivers. If she cant, implementation must be suspended until the method of waivers is released, aside from the Pensacola Judges now 4 day period.

Odie1941 on March 7, 2011 at 12:29 PM

Unconstitutional ObamaCare continues to unravel,

Fixed it for you, Ed.

Chip on March 7, 2011 at 12:30 PM

I wish Congress would pass a law prohibiting all waivers. Pass or fail it would give the GOP leverage to use against the Dems in 2014

multiuseless on March 7, 2011 at 12:30 PM

No one knows what to expect from this vast expansion of regulatory power precisely because it’s based on executive whimsy rather than sound and objective law. Apart from all other aspects of ObamaCare, this is the most destructive quality in regard to the rule of law — and Congress had better act to stop it from proceeding for that reason alone.

Obamacare cn’t get to the Supreme Court fast enough for me…so it can be overturned.

CCRWM on March 7, 2011 at 12:30 PM

I am still waiting for approval of my Social Security waiver.

WashJeff on March 7, 2011 at 12:31 PM

We don’t want to take away people’s health insurance before they have some realistic other choices…..”

…..but thats what we’re going to do.

BobMbx on March 7, 2011 at 12:31 PM

ObamaCare waivers

Long-term shout-out to libtard supporters

BobMbx on March 7, 2011 at 12:32 PM

e new annual coverage floor of $750,000

I’m just staring at that number in disbelief. Are we, as a society, really devoting almost a million dollars a year to keep a single person alive?

Count to 10 on March 7, 2011 at 12:34 PM

I have a funny feeling the thugs in Obama’s admin know the writing is on the wall – and are lining up donors/supporters through their “waiver” efforts to conjure up the “us v them” meme.

In fact – I wouldnt put it past Seb to both not explain the waivers – and then when the shoe drops, parade those who would have gotten waivers, filled with “the why of the waiver”, ex post facto – with phrases and imagery of little kids dying, old people eating tuna (again) and a few minorities sprinkled in for good measure.

Odie1941 on March 7, 2011 at 12:34 PM

For some children, socializing and learning are being cruelly complicated by homelessness, as Scott Pelley reports from Florida, where school buses now stop at motels for children who’ve lost their homes.

OMG .. CBS runs a homeless story on 60 Minutes

J_Crater on March 7, 2011 at 12:35 PM

You still have to LOL when you consider that the Oppressive-Left screwed the pooch Rahming this through and it resulted in the people voting them out in droves.

Now it’s becoming more and more evident that it was all for naught. LOL!

Laughing at your expense Demos.

If you Oppressives weren’t so dangerous to the cause of Liberty you would be really be entertaining.

Chip on March 7, 2011 at 12:38 PM

MY secretary has determined that I shouldn’t have to abide by any of the tenets of ObamaCare.

Bishop on March 7, 2011 at 12:39 PM

Buy The Future

faraway on March 7, 2011 at 12:40 PM

OT: But what has happened to Judge Vinsons ruling of 7 days for 0bama and the DOJ to mount a lawsuit?

Mirimichi on March 7, 2011 at 12:40 PM

waivers schmaivers, let’s talk about charlie sheen instead

-lsm

cmsinaz on March 7, 2011 at 12:42 PM

letget on March 7, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Oops, sorry. Didn’t see yours until after I posted mine.

Mirimichi on March 7, 2011 at 12:42 PM

As impressive as the number of waivers is, the numbers being publicized should include the actual number of people it takes out of the mix. One of the teacher’s unions cover over 350,000 people. Just one waiver!

Cindy Munford on March 7, 2011 at 12:43 PM

OT: But what has happened to Judge Vinsons ruling of 7 days for 0bama and the DOJ to mount a lawsuit?

Mirimichi on March 7, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Good question. When is that 7 days up????

Knucklehead on March 7, 2011 at 12:43 PM

Obamacare waivers = what passes for “equal protection under the law” these days

gryphon202 on March 7, 2011 at 12:44 PM

That’s one of the fundamental dangers of ObamaCare. It’s government by whim, not by law. The entire act is filled with the phrase, “The secretary shall determine” or equivalents, meaning that HHS can essentially make up and change rules as they go along.

That isn’t any way to run a (high-speed) railroad.

That language sounds similar to the Mexican version of our second amendment – you have this right, but WE determine what that right really is based on what we feel like at the moment.

Chip on March 7, 2011 at 12:47 PM

Knucklehead on March 7, 2011 at 12:43 PM

business days…ergo sometime this week…

cmsinaz on March 7, 2011 at 12:47 PM

grim milestone anyone?

tflst5 on March 7, 2011 at 12:48 PM

Will bho just ignore the Judge? Will the Judge hold bho and team in contempt?
L

letget on March 7, 2011 at 12:21 PM

Bears repeating.

Mirimichi on March 7, 2011 at 12:49 PM

All animals are equal…but liberal animals are more equal.

search4truth on March 7, 2011 at 12:51 PM

“The secretary shall determine” if you are a financial supporter of the Democratic Party.

In such a case, you will have no problems.

See how easy that is?

GarandFan on March 7, 2011 at 12:53 PM

waivers…wavers…are you sure Obama knows the difference?

right2bright on March 7, 2011 at 12:54 PM

“The secretary shall determine” if you are a financial supporter of the Democratic Party.

In such a case, you will have no problems.

See how easy that is?

GarandFan on March 7, 2011 at 12:53 PM

You came so close…
The new cabinet position:
The “Secretary of Determination”…

right2bright on March 7, 2011 at 12:55 PM

The high road is for the Republicans, if they can’t get Obamacare overturned, to try to outlaw waivers. That way, all are treated equally under the law — corporations, unions — all, without regard to political connectivity.

If the SEIU can’t exercise their waivers, Obamacare is in for a world of hurt from the left.

unclesmrgol on March 7, 2011 at 1:05 PM

Disgrace.

dogsoldier on March 7, 2011 at 1:11 PM

I never read through the entire Obamacare law because of this. After 150 pages of it, I realized I’d read the phrase “The HHS Secretary shall determine…” so often, I realized the rest of the bill was meaningless, because the HHS Secretary was given full and complete dictatorial powers over Health Care.

michaelo on March 7, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Land of the flee and the home of the waive

saint kansas on March 7, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Help me understand, those who get a waiver don’t have to abide by the rules until 2014? But the rest have to pay for it PLUS for those who get a waiver? If that’s so, how Kremilinistic can you get?

CynicalOptimist on March 7, 2011 at 1:27 PM

Why can’t the House simply add a blanket waiver to everyone in the country? It would be interesting to see the blow-back from the left, and it would draw more attention to those waivers already granted by Obama…

golfer1 on March 7, 2011 at 1:36 PM

Land of the flee and the home of the waive

saint kansas on March 7, 2011 at 1:25 PM

Thread winner!

Dark-Star on March 7, 2011 at 1:43 PM

How many days left on the FL Judge’s seven days for bho and team to getter done on bhocare? Will bho just ignore the Judge? Will the Judge hold bho and team in contempt?
L

letget on March 7, 2011 at 12:21 PM

OT: But what has happened to Judge Vinsons ruling of 7 days for 0bama and the DOJ to mount a lawsuit?

Mirimichi on March 7, 2011 at 12:40 PM

Good question. When is that 7 days up????

Knucklehead on March 7, 2011 at 12:43 PM

In a WSJ editorial today, they said this Thursday–March 10–is date by which the Obama administration must file its expedited appeal.

BuckeyeSam on March 7, 2011 at 2:29 PM

The most destructive quality [is] in regard to the rule of law.

Indeed.

Pablo Snooze on March 7, 2011 at 2:30 PM

Since the IRS will have the ultimate job in enforcing the law and/or taxing citizens, 1040 (the Form used to file your personal taxes) sounds like a good number.

djaymick on March 7, 2011 at 3:30 PM

Will bho just ignore the Judge? Will the Judge hold bho and team in contempt?
L

letget on March 7, 2011 at 12:21 PM

I think this judge would hold the government in contempt. Even if he does, what will that accomplish? Stir outrage in the media that a President would blatantly ignore the law? Lead to Sebelius going to jail until she agrees to comply with a court order? Or… nothing?

hawksruleva on March 7, 2011 at 3:31 PM

Have the medical tax increases that pay for OBcare been waived?

percysunshine on March 7, 2011 at 3:47 PM

I’d think the whole idea of ‘waivers’ would be a quite serious violation of equal protection clause.

clement on March 7, 2011 at 5:01 PM

How can a law relying entirely on “The secretary shall determine” be constitutional.
joeindc44 on March 7, 2011 at 12:20 PM

How can a law that “mandates” “everyone” to pay allow “waivers”?

DSchoen on March 7, 2011 at 5:40 PM

“The HHS Secretary shall determine…” so often, I realized the rest of the bill was meaningless, because the HHS Secretary was given full and complete dictatorial powers over Health Care.
michaelo on March 7, 2011 at 1:17 PM

Ah hA!!! That finally PROVES Palin is wrong!
There are no “Death Panels” there’s only “The HHS Secretary shall determine…”

DSchoen on March 7, 2011 at 5:59 PM