Surprise! HHS still granting ObamaCare waivers
posted at 12:30 pm on August 20, 2011 by Ed Morrissey
Remember when the Obama administration, under pressure from Congress to explain its waivers to ObamaCare, said that it would stop issuing the get-out-of-OCare-free passes? Well, they said they would stop issuing waivers in September, conveniently just when Congress reconvenes after its August break. And that gives Kathleen Sebelius a little more time to let more insurance plans avoid compliance:
The Obama administration granted another 106 waivers last month from part of the healthcare reform law — the first round of three-year waivers the Health and Human Services Department has approved.
The new approvals bring the total number of waivers to 1,472, according to HHS. Those figures cover waivers granted through the end of July. HHS will stop granting new waivers after September.
By the way, just because HHS will stop issuing waivers in the fall doesn’t mean that these insurance plans will have to meet ObamaCare compliance rules soon:
The department announced it would cut off applications after September, but let companies that received one-year exemptions extend their waivers through 2014. The 106 waivers approved in July will last three years.
We still don’t know what criteria these applicants met to get out from under ObamaCare’s rules on premiums-to-payments ratios. We still don’t know who didn’t get waivers, and why they were denied. No one has explained how unions seemed to be favored in these waivers, although we can probably guess why. And we still don’t know why these waivers can get extended for the next three years, while other plans will be locked out of waiver applications, even though they may be just as or more deserving of a free pass as those who have them now, or how HHS will decide on waiver extensions.
I’d guess that the lack of transparency means a great deal of brown-nosing is part of the process, as it always is when the Rule of Whim replaces the Rule of Law.