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

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?