Friday night news dump: White House to end ObamaCare waiver program

posted at 5:52 pm on June 17, 2011 by Allahpundit

Yes, that waiver program. The one for which they had no statutory authorization to begin with.

I don’t get it. Why would they want to end a politically toxic, deeply corrupt program just as Republican candidates are starting to hit the trail in earnest?

Political considerations were “absolutely not” part of the decision, said Steve Larsen, head of a section of the Health and Human Services department that oversees President Barack Obama’s health care law.

Larsen said no new applications for waivers will be considered after Sept. 22. Approvals or renewals received by the deadline will be good through 2013. Starting in 2014, the main coverage provisions of the health care law will take effect, and such waivers will no longer be needed…

A conservative policy expert who has been critical of the program wasn’t buying the technical explanation.

“It looks like they finally figured out they were in a public relations hole and decided to stop digging,” said Ed Haislmaier of the Heritage Foundation think tank.

I lost track of the waiver issue sometime after the thousandth waiver was granted, which as I recall was around the time Anthony Weiner was thinking of asking for one for all of New York City. Did we ever find out what criteria HHS uses to approve or deny a waiver request, or is it still Sebelius’s little secret? Hopefully we’ll learn more: Since the program will be active until late September, there’s still plenty of time for more House oversight hearings on the issue.

Maybe now that Weiner’s a private citizen again, they can call him to testify?

Breaking on Hot Air

Blowback

Note from Hot Air management: This section is for comments from Hot Air's community of registered readers. Please don't assume that Hot Air management agrees with or otherwise endorses any particular comment just because we let it stand. A reminder: Anyone who fails to comply with our terms of use may lose their posting privilege.

Trackbacks/Pings

Trackback URL

Comments

With growing cries for them to reveal exactly how this process of granting/denying waivers actually worked, and who got turned down and why, The Most Transparent Administration EVAH! decided to simply end the practice rather than explain itself.

Figures.

manofaiki on June 17, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Hurts twice.

It wasn’t legal to give them and not allowed in the law. This is ad mission of stuidity also.

seven on June 17, 2011 at 5:55 PM

So do they admit they didn’t have the authority?

What happens to the ones they issued?

Can Mitt still issue waivers to all of us?

petunia on June 17, 2011 at 5:55 PM

Well, it’s about time they put paid to that corrupt form of crony capitalism.

MJBrutus on June 17, 2011 at 5:55 PM

“Political considerations were “absolutely not” part of the decision…”

Which means it was a totally political consideration…

Seven Percent Solution on June 17, 2011 at 5:56 PM

Behold, the Great Waiver Waver of 2011.

steebo77 on June 17, 2011 at 5:58 PM

Unless they’re rescinding all waivers, this is not news. It will be buried.

I think it’s less a public relations move and more a legal move. What with all the heat coming down the pike and it was only going to ramp up.

Obama has shown he doesn’t care about public relations. Or the law when he thinks he can finagle it to sound like he’s following the law. But this particular issue was clearly against the law as written and was bound to come up in the hearings to land before SCOTUS if it was still in place.

What with equal treatment being such an “in” thing nowadays when fighting laws on the books.

ButterflyDragon on June 17, 2011 at 6:00 PM

I like the AP’s description better…

The waivers deal with a part of the new health care law that restricts annual dollar limits on coverage. They won’t be needed when the law goes into full effect in 2014, because taxpayer-subsidized insurance will be broadly available.

So, insurance companies will go out of business paying for unlimited coverage, but the tax payers won’t. Your pockets are bottomless!!!

txhsmom on June 17, 2011 at 6:01 PM

What convenient timing for an election year. Businesses won’t be clamoring for the waiver until after the election. Sheesh.

txmomof6 on June 17, 2011 at 6:02 PM

Are they done buying off unions and left-wing cronies already? I doubt it.

Philly on June 17, 2011 at 6:03 PM

Well O’bummer thank you. How about a little more sanity from your insane administration.

CW on June 17, 2011 at 6:05 PM

Sorry Barry, you can’t give what you don’t have. Biatch.

portlandon on June 17, 2011 at 6:05 PM

“Political considerations were “absolutely not” part of the decision”

Yah, right. It was a random sampling of America.

Hening on June 17, 2011 at 6:07 PM

Larsen said no new applications for waivers will be considered after Sept. 22. Approvals or renewals received by the deadline will be good through 2013. Starting in 2014, the main coverage provisions of the health care law will take effect, and such waivers will no longer be needed…

Really? Why? Will, say, White Castle have magically found a way to cover their employees by then? Or is it because if things go as planned, private insurers will all have been destroyed at that point, and the glorious dream of a “single payer system” will be realized? (With the unions who also got waivers cheering loudly, but I digress.)

What happens to the ones they issued?
petunia on June 17, 2011 at 5:55 PM

The waivers were only good for a year. After that it was like Groundhog Day and you had to start all over again with new waiver requests.

Buy Danish on June 17, 2011 at 6:08 PM

I figured the waivers program mostly involved sending sleazy Eric Holder a seven-figure money order payable to the Just-Us Department.

Just like the old days with Holder, Mark Rich and Bubba if you’ll PARDON my saying so.

viking01 on June 17, 2011 at 6:08 PM

Holder stays, Sebelius goes? Hmmmmmmmmmmmmmm.

capejasmine on June 17, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Odd that all those companies beating their breasts for ObamaCare were the first to ask for exemptions from it.

GarandFan on June 17, 2011 at 6:09 PM

Does anyone here at Hot Air actually believe this ObamaCare will ever come into fruition?
I have felt it will get repealed one way or the other.
This waiver thing is going to blow up in their faces.

Isn’t the entire state of Maine exempt?
How is that fair to the other 56 states?

carbon_footprint on June 17, 2011 at 6:10 PM

..at a count of over 1,300 doesn’t this come under the heading of “closing the barn door after..”?

If you all vote for Mittens and he gets elected, on January 21, 2013, you’ll get 57 more waivers.

The War Planner on June 17, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Isn’t the entire state of Maine exempt?
How is that fair to the other 56 states?
carbon_footprint on June 17, 2011 at 6:10 PM

The answer to the first question is: Yes.

Ideally the answer to the Second question would be: As Maine goes, so goes the nation.

Buy Danish on June 17, 2011 at 6:15 PM

Paging crr6…

Del Dolemonte on June 17, 2011 at 6:16 PM

Isn’t the entire state of Maine exempt?
How is that fair to the other 56 states?

carbon_footprint on June 17, 2011 at 6:10 PM

Harry Reid’s state got a waiver too. How about that? (apologies to Mel Allen)

Del Dolemonte on June 17, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Well if HHS had no statatory authority then all the waivers that HAVE been issued are void.

Dr. Dog on June 17, 2011 at 6:17 PM

Why would they want to end a politically toxic, deeply corrupt program just as Republican candidates are starting to hit the trail in earnest?

Because the BHO Administration decided there was no more (net positive) political good to be milked out of granting waivers?….Maybe?…Do I sound cynical?

tgharris on June 17, 2011 at 6:20 PM

It’s still a political loser. Here’s the GOP line: “They took care of all their friends, unions, and big corporations, then they pulled up the drawbridge when the ordinary folks wanted waivers too.”

PattyJ on June 17, 2011 at 6:21 PM

Paging crr6…

Del Dolemonte on June 17, 2011 at 6:16 PM

Witches and wizards
and crr6
Give us a sign
with more Weiner pics!

yubley on June 17, 2011 at 6:21 PM

Does anyone here at Hot Air actually believe this ObamaCare will ever come into fruition?
I have felt it will get repealed one way or the other.
This waiver thing is going to blow up in their faces.

Isn’t the entire state of Maine exempt?
How is that fair to the other 56 states?

carbon_footprint on June 17, 2011 at 6:10 PM

If the past tells us anything, its that Socialized Medicine in the United States has failed. Ask Mitt Romney. He gambled, used it as his biggest achievement, just like Obama, and it’s hurt him.

Hopefully others will learn from this dabbling in Compassionate Socialism.

portlandon on June 17, 2011 at 6:22 PM

Paging crr6…

Del Dolemonte on June 17, 2011 at 6:16 PM

She’s still busy waxing Axelrod’s car.

viking01 on June 17, 2011 at 6:23 PM

OT: The Senate voted overwhelmingly to put paid to the corn ethanol subsidies. It’s good, but we need to put paid to the ethanol mandate as well to really make a difference.

Ed or AP, will we have a thread on this?

MJBrutus on June 17, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Isn’t the entire state of Maine exempt?
How is that fair to the other 56 states?
carbon_footprint on June 17, 2011 at 6:10 PM

Well Maine better be good or there is that constant threat that their waiver can go bye bye.

CW on June 17, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Criteria? We don’t need no steenking criteria!

slickwillie2001 on June 17, 2011 at 6:24 PM

Means nothing unless they rescind 100% of the waivers already granted.

Midas on June 17, 2011 at 6:26 PM

Maybe now that Weiner’s a private citizen again

Is he? He’s announced his intention to resign. Has he sent an official letter of resignation to Speaker Boehner? Does that letter specify the effective date of his resignation?

My money is on “effective when a successor can be elected and sworn in”, maximizing the time he continues to draw his paycheck. If he words it right, it might be up to Cuomo to decide whether a special election is justified, dragging the whole thing out until there’s no point in it and just letting him finish out his term.

The Monster on June 17, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Paging crr6…

Del Dolemonte on June 17, 2011 at 6:16 PM

Parasites?

Chip on June 17, 2011 at 6:27 PM

Ed or AP, will we have a thread on this?

MJBrutus on June 17, 2011 at 6:23 PM

IIRC, there is already a thread on this. Left column on main page.

carbon_footprint on June 17, 2011 at 6:28 PM

So, if companies have been granted waivers up this point, is it safe to say that at least some of them ave not shed as many jobs as they might have, had their waiver request been denied? And by extension, might this be seen -even in a small way- in the hiring trends of the near future?

BKeyser on June 17, 2011 at 6:28 PM

OT: The Senate voted overwhelmingly to put paid to the corn ethanol subsidies. It’s good, but we need to put paid to the ethanol mandate as well to really make a difference.

Ed or AP, will we have a thread on this?

MJBrutus on June 17, 2011 at 6:23 PM

Not sure at all what “put paid” means, but AP covered it here.

Buy Danish on June 17, 2011 at 6:29 PM

So they say!(sarc)

canopfor on June 17, 2011 at 6:29 PM

Paging crr6…

Del Dolemonte on June 17, 2011 at 6:16 PM

Parasites?

Chip on June 17, 2011 at 6:27 PM

THAT she is

CW on June 17, 2011 at 6:29 PM

OT-Any bet that this is Crr6 on New York’s metro?

http://news.yahoo.com/s/yblog_thelookout/20110617/us_yblog_thelookout/woman-says-shes-too-educated-to-be-kicked-off-new-york-train

CW on June 17, 2011 at 6:22 PM

I dunno, based on the report…

“Do you know what schools I’ve been to? How well-educated I am?”

I guess the article may just have left out the part where she gave a wikipedia URL.

malclave on June 17, 2011 at 6:31 PM

Larsen said no new applications for waivers will be considered after Sept. 22.

So they’re not ENDING any of the waivers they’ve already sold. They’re just setting a preliminary cutoff date for the first round of bribes. And they’re setting it for three months from now.

Newsflash: This is not any sudden concession to the concept of ethics. This just a fundraising drive. They’re telling people that once the screws start turning, the waivers will get more expensive.

logis on June 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Wow – this is a litigators DREAM COME TRUE. We have a list of groups that DID get waivers and now they won’t give anymore. So anyone who didn’t get a waiver should go through the list and see if they qualify – if not – SUE. YES hire any lawyer (I’m sure they need the work) and jam the legal system with lawsuits demanding a waiver. Where are all the lawyers when you need them. – Get some class action suits and file injunctions in every court in every state.

IlonaE on June 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Buy Danish on June 17, 2011 at 6:29 PM

I missed it. Thank you!

MJBrutus on June 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM

He’s going to let the waivers last until after the elections? Such transparent hypocrisy.

poorrichardsnews on June 17, 2011 at 6:34 PM

Actually, all the waivers enacted are illegal, and should be revoked.

astonerii on June 17, 2011 at 6:35 PM

I don’t get it. Why would they want to end a politically toxic, deeply corrupt program just as Republican candidates are starting to hit the trail in earnest?

Unfortunately, that’s not rhetorical.

They wouldn’t want to end it because there is no way in hell that the unions and the crony businesses who are paid up with the right people are going to accept that monstrosity of a bill that is Obama’s legacy.

I mean, it’s one thing to foist such a plan on the Great Unwashed Mass of suckers and chumps. Obama’s their man in D.C. and they’ll scratch his back so he can reciprocate. But that doesn’t mean they’re going to make the sacrifices his great wonderful law requires. I mean, let’s not go nuts here.

HitNRun on June 17, 2011 at 6:38 PM

I guess Obama was between a rock and a hard place, otherwise he would have protected his friends better. “Wait a minute, you mean you’re saying that I’ll have to be in Obamacare, too? I thought we had a deal!”

The shame of it is that even though Obamacare will likely be struck down, the regulations on private health care have already caused grave damage.

The damage this man and his Democrat cohorts have done is incredible, and I can only imagine what a lame duck Obama would try in his last days with executive orders — except that it won’t be pretty.

Aardvark on June 17, 2011 at 6:41 PM

“Waivers revoked, you’re all our b!tches. Have a nice day.”

Ryan Anthony on June 17, 2011 at 6:48 PM

Did we ever find out what criteria HHS uses

Nope. We just got the “Trust us, it’s not political” explanation instead.

We can trust Sebellius and the rest of Barry’s crew not to be political, right?

AZCoyote on June 17, 2011 at 7:13 PM

Wow – this is a litigators DREAM COME TRUE. We have a list of groups that DID get waivers and now they won’t give anymore. So anyone who didn’t get a waiver should go through the list and see if they qualify – if not – SUE. YES hire any lawyer (I’m sure they need the work) and jam the legal system with lawsuits demanding a waiver.
IlonaE on June 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM

The legal standard for this kind of thing is “arbitrary and capricious.” That’s usually a ridiculously easy standard to meet. All the government has to do is prove that they used some sort of coherent reasoning process.

But, in this case, the statutes themselves have absolutely no waiver process in them. And the actual regulations the campaign contributors were exempted from haven’t even been written yet.

More importantly, THOUSANDS of waivers will have been issued. Of course it will be completely impossible for Obama to come up with a coherent theory to explain the difference between all of them and any new applicant.

BTW, if anybody here works for a company that might be affected by Obamacare (i.e., every company in the country) let your management know they should turn in a waiver request before the arbitrary “cutoff date” – and be sure to formally ask for the criteria that will be used to evaluate the waiver applications.

Under any fascist system, it’s never possible to operate a business “legally.” The only thing you can ever do is make sure that shutting you down is more trouble than it’s worth. And it is NEVER too early to start gumming up the system.

logis on June 17, 2011 at 7:13 PM

The first rule of Obamacare: There are no rules.
The second rule of Obamacare: see Rule No. 1.

slickwillie2001 on June 17, 2011 at 7:19 PM

Yes, that waiver program. The one for which they had no statutory authorization to begin with.

I don’t get it. Why would they want to end a politically toxic, deeply corrupt program just as Republican candidates are starting to hit the trail in earnest?

(…)

I lost track of the waiver issue sometime after the thousandth waiver was granted, which as I recall was around the time Anthony Weiner was thinking of asking for one for all of New York City. Did we ever find out what criteria HHS uses to approve or deny a waiver request, or is it still Sebelius’s little secret? Hopefully we’ll learn more: Since the program will be active until late September, there’s still plenty of time for more House oversight hearings on the issue.

I’m wondering what the status of “existing waivers” will be…if left up to the Democrats and Obama Admin., I’m sure they’ll be granted some sort of grandfathery-Frank-wisdom and quickly hidden amidst the rolling papers before the public remembers where they put them.

This waiver thing wasn’t even legitimate, yet was being deemed to exist by Sibelius; I will never accept these were not political favors, either, any more than I think Obama doesn’t have anything substantially problematic to hide as to his ‘past’.

Lourdes on June 17, 2011 at 7:47 PM

Some Friday night news, with video: ‘Andrew Breitbart Swarmed by Progressive Mob at Netroots Nation’.

Donald Douglas on June 17, 2011 at 7:48 PM

Paging crr6…

Del Dolemonte on June 17, 2011 at 6:16 PM

NOOOOO!!! Please don’t!!! It’s FRIDAY. Let’s enjoy the weekend without that simpleton chiming in. SHHHH!!!

Sporty1946 on June 17, 2011 at 7:53 PM

The waiver program was NEVER announced to the public. This is an insider program and Obama is simply saying his friends have all been taken care of.

As for what effect this has, look no farther than McDonalds. They now have a guaranteed 2 year competitive advantage over anyone trying to start a new chain of fast food restaurants.

THIS is what needs to be explained in EVERY debate Obama appears in. Crooked deals are the hallmark of the Obama administration!

Freddy on June 17, 2011 at 7:56 PM

Larsen said no new applications for waivers will be considered after Sept. 22.

So they’re not ENDING any of the waivers they’ve already sold. They’re just setting a preliminary cutoff date for the first round of bribes. And they’re setting it for three months from now.

Newsflash: This is not any sudden concession to the concept of ethics. This just a fundraising drive. They’re telling people that once the screws start turning, the waivers will get more expensive.

logis on June 17, 2011 at 6:33 PM

Thanks for posting that…

Lourdes on June 17, 2011 at 8:00 PM

Actually, all the waivers enacted are illegal, and should be revoked.

astonerii on June 17, 2011 at 6:35 PM

That’s my understanding, too, but I wonder just who it is who is going to enforce the law when the Dept. of Justice is unwilling to.

Lourdes on June 17, 2011 at 8:01 PM

White House to end ObamaCare waiver program

The. End.

The original large waiver granted employers like Micky Ds cannot exist under the burden of Obamacare, hopefully the pressure will now become so great this ridiculous corruption magnet is gone before the election.

Speakup on June 17, 2011 at 8:20 PM

I know they think we are stupid, but do they really think we are that stupid? Just because they STOP issuing the waivers in September 2011, doesn’t take the issue off the table as a campaign issue. Geesh. Dumba$$e$

karenhasfreedom on June 17, 2011 at 8:39 PM

Everything they do is political; it’s almost laughable that they suggest otherwise.

redfoxbluestate on June 17, 2011 at 8:40 PM

Actually, all the waivers enacted are illegal, and should be revoked.

astonerii on June 17, 2011 at 6:35 PM
That’s my understanding, too, but I wonder just who it is who is going to enforce the law when the Dept. of Justice is unwilling to.

Lourdes on June 17, 2011 at 8:01 PM

We are… with pitchforks and torches, if necessary…

Khun Joe on June 17, 2011 at 10:03 PM

all the cronies got waivers so now it’s time to end them, Government according to Progressive Liberal Socialism.

mathewsjw on June 18, 2011 at 3:46 AM

Let’s see, pay off all your buddies, then stop when your opponents start asking for the payoff. Sounds more like business as usual, unless all the waivers granted to date are repealed. Yeah, didn’t think so.

FalseProfit on June 18, 2011 at 8:17 AM

If an early end to the waiver program is not politically motivated, then what is the motivation or reason?

Funny, how that never gets explained, isn’t it.

Sometimes, I think, the first inclination of these people is, to lie right through their teeth.

franksalterego on June 18, 2011 at 8:35 AM

This is typical of Democrats. They do this stuff, know it’s not legal, get all the people they want covered, then they say, well, “We’re not going to do it any more.” and expect that to be the end of it.

When we look back on this group, we just might find the most lawless political group the United States has ever had. Between the way they draft legislation, to the czars, to the executive decisions they make, all of which are of questionable legality, it’s going to take years to figure out what they actually did.

bflat879 on June 18, 2011 at 9:06 AM

I would have thought any waiver program like this could be legally challenged … if not for the fact that the entire bill is full of paradoxes. Remember the aspects of it that are “irrevocable”, that a single HHS secretary has absolute discretion without oversight or appeal.
This isn’t legislation in any normal sense of the word, but bureaucratic dictatorship.
Obama did not need the congress for the approval of Obamacare, just as he does not need it for the declaration of war. Neither the consitution, nor even this health care legislation limits his claim to absolute rule.

The article finishes by saying that the existing waiver beneficiaries will not “need” these waivers in 2014. I don’t understand how the “main provisions” of the healthcare bill will continue to offer unequal treatment to companies that had approved waivers.

virgo on June 18, 2011 at 12:20 PM