Monday, January 9, 2012

The Friday evening dump: the free Captain Elliott's Party Boats edition


One in a series that takes a look at some unsavory news being jettisoned from Washington D.C. right in front of the weekend.

A confluence circumstances that have us surprised it hasn't happened before this: a Friday evening news dump and the ObamaCare waiver process...

Labor unions continued to receive the overwhelming majority of waivers from the president’s health care reform law since the Obama administration tightened application rules last summer.

Documents released in a classic Friday afternoon news dump show that labor unions representing 543,812 workers received waivers from President Barack Obama‘s signature legislation since June 17, 2011.

By contrast, private employers with a total of 69,813 employees, many of whom work for small businesses, were granted waivers.

The Department of Health and Human Services revised the rules governing applications for health reform waivers June 17, 2011, amid a steady stream of controversial news reports, including The Daily Caller’s story that nearly 20 percent of last May’s waivers went to businesses in House Minority Leader Nancy Pelosi’s district in California.

The labor unions receiving waivers include those that are monitored under the 1947 Taft-Hartley Act, and those that are not. The waivers granted since June 17 are valid until 2013, but recipients must make sure their employees understand the “limits of their coverage,” according to HHS documents.

A complete list of waiver recipients can be found here. (Oops. Looks like they killed that link. That particular link now takes you to Medicare's Consumer Information main page. If anyone knows where that waiver list now resides, please provide us the link. We'd like to know how many total people are on the list. Considering the fact that by the beginning of 2011 when the ObamaCare waiver applications were supposed to be cut off, the Department of Health and Human Services has not even bothered to update the waiver list, so it's no small wonder that they have seemed fit to rub out the waiver list entirely.)

Going back to our archives, as of April of 2011 there were 2.2 million Americans receiving ObamaCare waivers. So add the combined union and non-union numbers provided by the article, we now have at least 2.8 million American exempted from the coverage limits of ObamaCare.

And originally, the waiver applications were to be submitted on a year-to-year basis. Perhaps the paperwork was backing up a bit at HHS because these particular waivers granted after June 17, 2011 have a shelf life of 2-1/2 years. A waiver of 2-1/2 years does not sound like "giving time for the markets to adjust" as that was the reasoning we heard to excuse the 1 year waiver.

For something that we supposedly could not live without, it's curious to see its biggest supporters in the unions being exempted denied the benefits of this wondrous law for 2-1/2 more years now. You'd think they'd be pitching a fit or something.

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