You turn your back just for a moment and this is what happens...
The Department of Health and Human Services last reported there were 222 union locals and businesses representing over 1.5 million people that had been granted waivers from having to comply with ObamaCare back on December of 2010. Since then... well, since then, let's just say there has been a slight uptick in activity. From The Hill:
While some 500 groups got waivers for a healthcare reform provision setting annual coverage requirements, about 50 requests for such exemptions were denied, the Department of Health and Human Services told The Hill Thursday.
A week after Republicans announced an investigation into reform law waivers, HHS made public on Wednesday new waivers for more than 500 groups that would not be able to meet the reform law's new requirement for annual coverage limits in 2011.
The law gives HHS Secretary Kathleen Sebelius the flexibility to grant waivers to avoid disruption in the insurance market, but Republicans say the waivers are either gifts to Democratic allies in unions or proof that the reform law isn’t working. A large number of businesses have also received waivers.
The waivers are typically granted to so-called "mini-med" plans that offer limited annual coverage — as low as $2,000 — to employees. The waivers are designed to preserve stability in the insurance market until new state-run insurance exchanges open in 2014.
This would now bring the total of unions and business entities fleeing for the exits to a whopping 729 representing 2.1 million people. Full list for ObamaCare exemptees can be found here.
As the title of the list suggests (Helping Americans Keep the Coverage They Have and Promoting Transparency) we're not quite sure the granting of waivers was what the President had in mind when he told us that if we liked our health insurance, we could keep it. Besides, Ms. Sebelius would have to be considered some sort of miracle-working administrator to ask that question of 2.1 million people.
And as for that transparency part, it begs the question: just how does a company get itself off the ObamaCare hook? That's the big mystery, now isn't it? From the same article:
"We are committed to making the waiver process transparent to the public and to make sure workers with mini-med plans are informed about the limited nature of their coverage," Steve Larsen, director of oversight in HHS's Office of Consumer Information and Insurance, said in a statement.And that's a wrap. End of story. End of article.
Now, we are not suggesting anything untoward but it didn't appear to dim the prospects of three unions that had donated 27 million dollars to Obama's campaign back in '08 in their quest to be exempted from a law they supported.
That 729 most likely represents the final tally as the list link above from the Department of Health and Human Services said all requests had to be in by Jan. 1st when the law took effect. We'll be looking for two things now, a) whether or not there will be waivers for the waiver for those businesses begging out after Jan. 1st and b) how many businesses will dump coverage because they underestimated the cost of having to comply with ObamaCare and didn't bother submitting a waiver request.
With a law this vaguely worded and many of its provisions left to the whims of one person in Kathleen Sebelius, the possibilities are endless.